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Elizabeth Board of Education 
Internal Review 
Report of Special Counsel 
February 9, 2012 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 - 7 

INTRODUCTION 1 

I POLITICAL CONTEXT 5 

II EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS 18 

1 . Selection of School Board and Superintendent 
Munoz to Participate in Broad Foundation Training 
Programs 18 

2. Consistent and Comprehensive Improvement in 

Standardized Test Scores 20 

3 . Collaboration with Merck Institute for 

Science Education 21 

4. Restructuring and Reconfiguring of District's 
Elementary Schools 23 

5. Decentralization and Reorganization of District's 

High School Program 24 

a. Elizabeth High School 25 

b. Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy 2 5 

c. John E. Dwyer Technology Academy 26 

d. Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy 27 

e. Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership 
Academy 2 8 

f. Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Academy .. 28 
Results of High School Reorganization 29 

6. Panasonic Foundation 31 

7. National Blue Ribbon Schools 34 

8 . Pre-School 36 



9. Perfect Score Awards 3 8 

10. Other Awards and Recognitions 3 8 

11. School Uniform Initiative 40 

III EMPLOYEE INTERVIEWS 42 

IV NEPOTISM 51 

1. Nepotism Regulation and Policy 52 

2. The Board's Nepotism Policy 54 

3 . No Violation of Regulation or Policy 55 

a. Relatives of Current Board Members 55 

b. Relatives of Former Members Who Sat on the Board 
between 2009 and 2 011 59 

4. Abstentions 61 

5. Employees Were Qualified 62 

6. Salaries of Relatives of Board Members 62 

7. Department of Education Investigation 63 

8. Doctrine of Necessity 64 

9. Olga Fajardo's Employment Complies with Board and 
State Policy 65 

10. Conclusion 66 

V THE STAR LEDGER SOURCES 68 

1. Ethical Guidelines for Journalists 70 

2 . The Sources 75 

VI RECOMMENDATIONS 86 

VII CONCLUSION 95 



EXHIBITS 



EXHIBIT A: 



The Star Ledger Editorial dated April 1, 2006 
entitled "Looks like payback" 



EXHIBIT B: 



Letter from Superintendent Pablo Munoz to 
Secretary Margaret Spellings dated September 25, 
2006 



EXHIBIT C 



Letter from Superintendent Pablo Munoz to 
Margaret Spellings dated September 29, 2006 



EXHIBIT D: 



EVTJT T2 T*~P "P . 
AllXiDX 1 Ea . 



EXHIBIT F: 



EXHIBIT G: 



Letter from Mayor Christian Bollwage to Honorable 
Jon Corzine dated February 21, 2 006 

Elizabeth Board of Education Timeline of Audits 
dated 2005 to 2010 

Letter from Jimmy de la Torre, Ph.D. to Justice 
Gary S. Stein dated January 26 , 2012 ; Curriculum 
Vitae of Jimmy de la Torre 

The Star Ledger Editorial Board dated May 23, 

2 011 entitled "Needed: Criminal Investigation in 

Elizabeth" 



EXHIBIT H : 



Invitation to Cocktail Reception honoring 
Councilman Frank Cuesta dated January 25, 2 006 



EXHIBIT I 



Invitation to Reception honoring Councilman Frank 
J. Cuesta dated February 5, 2009 



EXHIBIT J: 



Letter from Frank J. Cuesta to Students and 
Parents dated September 11, 2007 



iii 



Elizabeth Board of Education 



Internal Review 
Report of Special Counsel 



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

This Executive Summary is intended to provide an overview of the findings of my Report 
to the Elizabeth Board of Education dated February 9, 2012. The Elizabeth Board of Education 
adopted a resolution on June 30, 20 1 1 authorizing the conduct of this internal review and the 

preparation of this Report. 

The Report considers a series of newspaper stories, editorials and op-ed pieces in the Star 
Ledger commencing in May 20 1 1 that alleged that members of the Elizabeth Board of Education 
consistently pressured employees of the Board to contribute to Board election campaigns and to 
events intended to raise campaign funds. 

After a comprehensive review of the Star Ledger's allegations, I have concluded, based 
on my independent investigation, that the Star Ledger's allegations are inaccurate, unfair and 
unsubstantiated. 

Significantly, the Star Ledger, knowingly or unknowingly, improperly failed to disclose 
that the sources relied on for those allegations were biased, all of those sources being former 
employees who have had well known adversarial relationships with the Board or with 
Superintendent Pablo Munoz, and/or have been politically allied with Senator Raymond Lesniak 
and/or Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. 

Moreover, the Star Ledger's articles were misleading because they omitted any 
discussion of the bitter political hostility toward the Board generated by Senator Lesniak and 
Mayor Bollwage over the past decade. The Report summarizes that adversarial relationship and 
explains why past and present members of the Board were required to maintain an effective 
political organization to defend themselves against attacks by the Senator and the Mayor. 

Most importantly, the Star Ledger articles do not attempt to describe the extraordinary 
educational progress that the Elizabeth School Board, under the leadership of Superintendent 
Munoz, has achieved over the past six years. That educational progress ranks the Elizabeth 
school system near the very top of comparable school districts in New Jersey and demonstrates 
that the educational mission of the Board is being successfully executed and has not been 
politicized. 

In view of the distorted and unfair portrayal of the Elizabeth school system by the series 
of articles published by the Star Ledger, the Board justifiably was concerned that the parents of 
the school Districts' more than 23,000 students could have diminished trust in the District's 
educational mission. Although the investigation that produced this Report was protracted and 



costly, the District's well-earned reputation for educational excellence and innovation clearly 
deserves vindication. 

Political Context 

The Report describes in detail the adversarial relationship that has existed during the past 
decade between the political organizations led by Senator Lesniak and Mayor Boll wage, on the 
one hand, and the Board of Education. The Report describes the lawsuit filed by the Board 
against the City when the City attempted to sell a piece of property, needed by the Board for a 
new vocational high school, to a political supporter of the Mayor for a price far below the market 
value of the property. In response to the lawsuit, the City conceded that it could not proceed 
with the sale of the property. But in retaliation, Senator Lesniak requested that the State 
Department of Education appoint a monitor to oversee the finances of the school district. The 
Star Ledger criticized Senator Lesniak in an April 1, 2006 editorial entitled "Looks Like 
Payback", which stated as follows: 

What we fear is that this is not about dealing with mismanagement 
of public funds. It's about payback. Lesniak seems to be out to 
punish the school board and by extension the taxpayers of 
Elizabeth. That's as indefensible as the original multimillion- 
dollar giveaway to the developer. 

The Report also explains that the efforts of Senator Lesniak and his associates resulted in nine 
investigations and two audits of the Board during 2006 and 2007, and that no significant 
financial concerns were found to exist by the State Department of Education. 

Harassment of the Board was joined in by Mayor Bollwage who wrote to Governor 
Corzine on February 21, 2006, a few weeks after the City was compelled to rescind the sale of 
the New Jersey Transit Property, requesting the Governor to consider a take-over of the 
Elizabeth School District by the State Department of Education. 

The adversarial relationship also was demonstrated by hard-fought election campaigns 
for membership on the Board in 2007, 2008 and 201 1. In none of those campaigns were the 
candidates supported by Senator Lesniak and Mayor Bollwage elected. 

As recently as December 201 1, Senator Lesniak demonstrated his continued antagonism 
to the Board by speaking at a meeting of an anti-Board organization called Education 
Watchdogs, urging the defeat of the incumbent School Board members and announcing to the 
membership that City Council member Frank Cuesta, a well-known political ally of Senator 
Lesniak and Mayor Bollwage, would be appointed as the next Superintendent of schools to 
replace the current Superintendent, Pablo Munoz. 

Educational Progress 

The most important section of the Report deals with the educational progress of the 
Elizabeth school system during the past six years under Superintendent Munoz. 



2 



The highlights of that progress include the following significant developments: 
1# T*€-St secures 

Scores achieved by Elizabeth school students on New Jersey standard tests for grades 3 
through 8 and on the High School Proficiency Assessment test for grade 1 1 have improved 
significantly in language arts and mathematics in every year since 2005. Elizabeth school 
students also have improved their ranking in every grade in comparison to the 37 other school 
districts in the same economic category (DFG A). For example, in 2005, Elizabeth's grade 3 
language arts ranking among all 38 DFG A Districts was 16th; in 2011 it was 8th. In 2005 
Elizabeth's grade 3 mathematics ranking was 15th; in 2011 it was 6th. Similarly, in 2005, its 
grade 7 language arts ranking was 18th; in 201 1 it was 9th. In 2005 Elizabeth's grade 7 
mathematics ranking was 23rd; in 201 1 it was 5th. Elizabeth's ranking in comparison to those 
other 37 districts in language arts and mathematics has improved in every year since 2005 for 
every grade for which the State has provided data. 

In addition, Elizabeth 8th graders have increased their proficiency percentage on the State 
mathematics test by 51% from 2008 to 2011, an improvement that is attributable in part to the 
fact that all 8th graders have been required to study algebra since the 2006-07 school year. 

2. Merck Institute for Science Education 

The school system also has been collaborating with the Merck Institute for Science 
Education. As a result, Elizabeth school students in 4th grade and 8th grade have significantly 
improved their proficiency percentage on State science tests. The improvement for 4th graders 
since 2005 is 38% and for 8th graders it is 57%. 

3. Broad Institute 

The Elizabeth School Board was one of a very small number of boards throughout the 
country that was selected to participate in a training program funded by a grant from the Broad 
Foundation. The Chairman of the Center that conducted the program described the Elizabeth 
Board of Education as "a star participant". In addition, Elizabeth School Superintendent Pablo 
Munoz was one of a select group of applicants chosen to participate in the Broad Superintendent 
Academy, a rigorous training program for superintendents. The Broad Foundation recently has 
commended the Elizabeth School District for its performance on standardized testing and for 
improving the performance of students who had previously not been achieving at expected 
levels. 

4. The Panasonic Foundation 

The Panasonic Foundation has selected Elizabeth as the only district in New Jersey to be 
provided technical assistance to improve curriculum and teaching. The Executive Director of the 
Foundation describes Elizabeth as a "strong, capable, inspired partner school district that is 
aggressively pursuing the vision of college and career readiness for students." 



3 



5. National Blue Ribbon Schools 



Elizabeth is the only school district in the State of New Jersey that has been recognized 
by the United States Department of Education for having three National Blue Ribbon Schools 
during the period 2006 to 201 1. Most of the Blue Ribbon Schools designated in New Jersey 
have been located in the wealthiest districts in the State. The three Elizabeth schools that were 
recognized - the William F. Halloran School No. 22 (2006), Victor Mravlag Elementary School 
No. 21 (2008), and Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 (201 1) - earned their designation not because 
its students were from disadvantaged backgrounds but rather because those schools were among 
the State' s highest performing schools irrespective of the demographic make-up of the students. 

6. Pre-schooi 

The Elizabeth Public Schools currently serve 3,555 pre-school students ages 3 and 4. 
Since 2004-2005, the pre-school program evaluation score has increased by 23% based on 
standardized pre-school evaluation and testing. In addition, the pre-school program has resulted 
in higher proficiency scores for grades K to 2. In 2010, the percentage of proficiency scores for 
reading in grades K-2 were 80%, in language arts 87% and in mathematics 87%. 

7. Restructuring of Elementary Schools 

The report explains that the District's elementary schools have been restructured and that 
all six middle schools have been replaced with reconfigured schools serving grades K to 8. 
During the same period, Elizabeth has completed the construction of 7 new public schools. The 
elimination of middle schools has resulted in a marked reduction of vandalism, school violence 
and substance abuse. 

8. Decentralization of High School 

The school board also has restructured the District's high school and has divided 
Elizabeth High School into six separate and distinct high schools consisting of the following: 

a. Elizabeth High School - the District's most demanding program requiring 
160 academic credits for graduation and 60 hours of community service. In 2010 and 201 1 over 
90% of graduates pursued post-secondary education in a two year or four year college. 

b. Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy - a high school designed to 
prepare students with a 2.0 grade average with demonstrated academic potential to prepare for 
college. 

c. John E. Dwyer Technology Academy - this academy offers courses in 
electronics, biotechnology, civil engineering, architectural, aerospace, computer science, 
robotics, computer design and implementation. 

d. Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy - this academy offers college 
preparatory courses in creative writing, theater, visual arts, performing arts and audio and visual 
media. 



e. Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership Academy - this academy 
offers programs designed to develop leadership skills with emphasis on military leadership, 
criminal justice, education leadership and business leadership. 

f. Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Academy - this academy offers 
instruction in construction technology, health science, automotive technology and hospital and 
retail service. 

The results of the high school reconfiguration have been excellent, evidenced in part by 
significant standardized test result improvements in language arts and mathematics for grades 9, 
10 and 1 1 and a substantial increase in the number of advanced placement courses from 2005 to 
20 1 1 . The Washington Post newspaper publishes a challenge index and in 20 1 1 it ranked 
Elizabeth High School second in the State of New Jersey and 176th nationally in its rating of 
high schools' ability to prepare their students for college. 

9. Perfect Score Awards 

In 2005 the year in which Pablo Mufioz became Acting Superintendent, only twelve 
Perfect Score Awards were achieved by Elizabeth grade school students on any of the NJ ASK 
tests. In 201 1, 330 Perfect Score Awards were achieved by Elizabeth students who received 
awards at the Perfect Scores Awards Ceremony held on November 22, 201 1, an increase of 
2,650%. 

The Report discusses other rewards and recognition received by Elizabeth school 
students and notes the implementation of the school uniform requirement. The Report concludes 
that the educational achievements of Elizabeth school students during the past six years have 
been outstanding. The Report also concludes that the atmosphere of politicization alleged by 
Senator Lesniak and Mayor Bollwage, as well as the Star Ledger, could not exist in a District 
with so exemplary and extraordinary a record of achievement. 

Employee Interviews 

Lawyers from our law firm interviewed 131 employees who were randomly selected by 
Dr. Jimmy de la Torre, an Associate Professor of Educational Statistics and Measurement in the 
Department of Educational Psychology, Rutgers Graduate School of Education. 

Those interviews revealed that out of the 131 employees interviewed, 41% never had 
donated to a Board Election campaign. Out of 117 employees who responded to a question 
about volunteering for Board campaigns, 63% never had volunteered. 

Out of the 131 employees interviewed, only 1 employee said that he may have felt 
pressure to donate to a campaign, and the same employee was the only one out of 131 employees 
who said that he may have felt pressure to volunteer to a campaign. 

Based on those responses, our statistical expert, Prof, de la Torre, advised us that we can 
be 95% confident that the margin of error in the estimate of eight-tenths of one percent (1 -f 131) 



who felt pressure to donate is 1.5%. Stated another way, we are 95% confident that, based on the 
margin of error, the percentage of employees who may have felt pressure to donate or volunteer 
ranges from a low that is a percentage rate close to zero to no more than 2.3%. 

The conclusion to be drawn from the random interviews of 131 Elizabeth School Board 
employees is that there is absolutely no evidence to support the allegation that employees 
consistently are pressured to donate to or volunteer for school board campaigns. The interview 
results clearly contradict the allegations in the Star Ledger's stories and cast grave doubt about 
the credibility of the Star Ledger sources. 

Nepotism 

The Report concludes that none of the relatives of current board members presently or 
previously holding employment positions with the Board of Education did so in violation of state 
law or regulation or in violation of Board policy. A substantial number of Board member 
relatives currently employed by the Board were hired before the Board member took office. 

The Star Ledger Sources 

The May 22, 20 1 1 Star Ledger article and May 23, 201 1 editorial relied on seven 
identified sources for the allegation that the School Board pressured employees to contribute to 
political fundraising events. Those seven individuals were Frank Cuesta, Louis Alt, Ronald 
Matlosz, Thomas Dunn, Jr., Ronald Davidson, Patty Gallante and Eddie Branquinho. The 
Report explains that each one of those individuals has had either an adversarial relationship with 
the Board of Education or Superintendent Munoz and/or has been allied with the political 
organizations of Senator Lesniak and Mayor Bollwage. The Report also refers to journalistic 
codes of ethics that make crystal clear that news articles always should divulge personal biases 
so that readers can evaluate the objectivity of persons relied on in the articles. The Statement of 
Principles adopted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors states clearly that "every 
effort must be made to assure that the news content is accurate, free from bias and in context, and 
that all sides are presently fairly." The Report concludes that the Star Ledger violated that 
fundamental principle of journalism by, knowingly or unknowingly, relying on sources who 
obviously were biased against the Board of Education, but the Star Ledger reporting did not 
disclose that bias. Because none of the sources relied on by the Star Ledger was objective or 
impartial, I have concluded that the Star Ledger's reliance on those obviously biased sources was 
inconsistent with well accepted journalistic principles. 1 further conclude that the Star Ledger 
news stories and editorials are inaccurate and unfair and that they have caused undeserved 
damage to the reputation of an outstanding urban district. 

Recommendations 

The Report describes fundraising events sponsored by "Continue the Progress" or the 
"Fajardo Team" over the past eight years, most of which were conducted through mail 
solicitations with a minimal amount of in-person solicitation. 



6 



We note that two events - a testimonial dinner on September 24, 2010 honoring Rafael 
j Fajardo and a testimonial dinner honoring Superintendent Pablo Munoz on May 21, 201 1 - were 

conducted differently, with the use of host committees consisting substantially of high-ranking 
employees of the Board of Education, 

The Report recommends to the Board that it engage in whatever action is necessary and 
appropriate to preclude the organization of host committees of that nature used to sponsor 
) political fundraising events as they could be viewed as inconsistent with the primary educational 

mission of the Board of Education. Although those dinners were organized by individuals 
outside the course of their employment at the Board of Education, the appearance of so many 
high-ranking staff members on the host committees could create an incorrect impression. The 
p Board's action also should emphasize that any fundraising or the use of Board equipment for 

| political purposes on Board premises or during Board of Education working hours is prohibited. 

Conclusion 



The Report notes that the New Jersey Supreme Court, in a series of school funding 
decisions during the 1990s, had ordered that urban school districts such as Elizabeth were to be 
provided additional funding that was equal to the amount of funding per pupil that was provided 
in the State's wealthiest districts and that, in addition, that funding should be sufficient to pay for 
supplemental programs such as pre- school and full day kindergarten in order to provide urban 
school children with a fair chance to compete on an equal footing with children from wealthier 
districts. 

The Report observes that the Star Ledger, through its editorials, had supported those 
court decisions that would direct greater funding to urban districts. It also noted that Elizabeth 
was precisely the kind of urban school district that benefitted greatly from those school funding 
decisions. 



The Report finds it astonishing that with 590 school districts in the State, the Star Ledger 
would single out Elizabeth - one of the best examples of urban educational improvement 
envisioned by those Court decisions - as the target for so harsh, unfair and unsubstantiated a 
series of articles. The Report concludes with the observation that the Elizabeth school system is 
one of the most successful urban school districts in New Jefsey\nd that the residents of 
Elizabeth rightly can take well-deserved pride in the extraordinary accomplishments of the city's 
schoolchildren. 



February 9, 2012 




7 



Elizabeth Board of Education 
Internal Review; 
Report of Special Counsel 
INTRODUCTION 

A series of newspaper stories, editorials and op-ed pieces 
in the Star Ledger beginning in May 2 011, relying primarily on 
statements by a small number of former Board of Education 
employees, repeatedly has asserted that members of the Elizabeth 
Board of Education systematically and continuously pressured 
Board employees to contribute to Board election campaigns and to 
dinners or other events intended to raise campaign funds . The 
Ledger infers, based on those selective interviews, that 
employees are threatened with punishment or enticed by rewards 
to make frequent campaign contributions. An editorial states 
that Board members "have lost their ethical bearings entirely, " 
noting that a number of District employees are relatives of 
current or past Board members. Although one article briefly 
noted that District test scores are up and that the 
Superintendent, Pablo Munoz, enjoyed a good reputation, the 
overriding message was that the members of the Board have 
betrayed the public trust by politicizing the educational 
mission of the Elizabeth Public Schools. 

After conducting a rigorous, comprehensive and independent 
review of the Star Ledger's allegations, I have concluded that 



the Ledger's repeated assertions that the members of the 
Elizabeth Board of Education consistently have pressured 
employees to donate to campaigns and otherwise politicized the 
District's employees and its educational mission are untrue, 
unfair and unsubstantiated. I also have determined that the 
Ledger articles, knowingly or unknowingly, failed to disclose 
that virtually all of the sources relied on by the Ledger for 
its allegations and conclusions are former employees with 
documented adversarial relationships with the Board or with 
Superintendent Munoz . In addition, a substantial number of the 
Ledger's sources are former employees who are politically 
allied, directly or indirectly, with the political organizations 
headed by State Senator Raymond Lesniak and Mayor J. Christian 
Bollwage, organizations that for many years actively have been 
engaged in attempting to unseat or otherwise undermine the 
elected members of the Elizabeth Board of Education. 

I also have concluded that the Ledger articles unfairly 
omitted any description of the severe and intense political 
hostility generated by the organizations headed by Senator 
Lesniak and Mayor Bollwage and directed at the Elizabeth Board. 
Without an understanding of the intensity of the efforts by the 
Senator and Mayor to undermine the Board and unseat its members, 
readers of the Ledger's articles would be unable to understand 



the reasons for the existence and determination of the political 



organization that supports the Board. 

Most significantly, the Ledger articles unfairly understate 
the extraordinary and exemplary educational progress achieved by 
the Elizabeth School Board, under the leadership of 
Superintendent Munoz, over the past six years. By any measure, 
that spectacular and indisputable record of educational progress 
- which has been steadfastly and enthusiastically supported by 
members of the School Board - in and of itself is sufficient to 
repudiate the Ledger's allegations that the educational mission 
of the Elizabeth school system has been politicized by the 
Board. 1 

In view of the distorted and unfair portrayal of the 
Elizabeth school system by the series of articles published by 
the Star Ledger, the Board justifiably was concerned that the 
parents of the school Districts' more than 23,000 students could 
have diminished trust in the District's educational mission. 
That the parents of Elizabeth's school children have confidence 
in the Districts' educators, administrators and leadership is 



1 Pashman Stein and I were retained to conduct this review and prepare this 
Report by resolution of the Elizabeth Board of Education adopted June 30, 
2011. On August 21, 2011, the Star Ledger reported that children of two 
administrators and the School Board President were receiving subsidized 
school lunches although their parents' incomes exceeded federal eligibility 
standards. Those officials were charged with criminal offenses by the New 
Jersey Attorney General in September 2011. The Board has retained separate 
counsel to represent it in connection with an ongoing investigation of that 
issue. Accordingly, allegations concerning improper receipt of subsidized 
school lunches are beyond the authorized scope of this Report and will not be 
addressed by the Report. 



3 



I 



vital to the District's continued educational progress. 
Although the investigation that produced this report was 
protracted and costly, the District's well-earned reputation for 
educational excellence and innovation clearly deserves 

I 

vindication. 

I 
I 
I 
I 
I 



» 



4 



I 

POLITICAL CONTEXT 

Since the mid-1990s, an ongoing political battle has been 
waged annually in Elizabeth over seats on the nine-member Board 
of Education. In the mid-1990s, Board control was held by 
members allied with Mayor Bo 11 wage and Senator Lesniak. But 
changes in the city's population and in the makeup of the 
student body apparently have had a gradual but sustained 
influence on voter participation in Board elections. Currently, 
Elizabeth is New Jersey's fourth largest city. Its population 
of approximately 125,000 includes a highly diverse residential 
community whose roots can be traced to at least fifty different 
countries ; students in the school system speak more than forty 
languages, including Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and 
English . Approximately sixty-eight percent of the city ' s 
residents are Hispanic, eight percent white, two percent Asian 
and twenty- two percent African-American. 

Largely as a result of population changes within the city 
and dissatisfaction with the quality of education offered by the 
Elizabeth school system, changes in membership on the Board 
beginning in the late 1990s resulted in a school Board less 
responsive to Mayor Bollwage and Senator Lesniak and somewhat 
more responsive to the influence of the changing residential 
community . 

5 



But reform of the school system proved to be challenging. 
In 1996 new Board members replaced Superintendent Manuel 
Gonzalez with Tom Dunn, Jr. He was the son of the former Mayor 
and, in the late 1980s, had been selected as Superintendent by 
Board whose members were appointed by his father. (Membership 

ive rather than appointive since 
1989.) The new Board members, who in 1998 became aligned with 
newly-formed political organization known as "Continue the 
Progress," found it difficult to make significant changes and 
improvements in the school system. Superintendent Dunn, using 
what some former Board members describe as divide-and-conquer 
tactics, managed to retain effective control of the school 
system, despite the fact that a majority of the members were 
politically affiliated with the Continue the Progress 
organization. Moreover, despite growing dissatisfaction with 
Dunn, his contract automatically was renewed in 2001 for five 
more years because the Board failed to provide adequate notice 
of its intention not to renew the contract. 

Seeds of change in the school system were planted in 2003 
when Pablo Muhoz was named Assistant Superintendent. Muhoz, a 
graduate of Elizabeth High School, Yale University and Columbia 
University's Teachers College, had taught and later served as 
Supervisor of Social Studies from 1991 to 1999, and then served 
as Director of Curriculum and Instruction from 1999-2002. As 



Assistant Superintendent, Mufioz developed and implemented a new 
school-based budgeting system and was responsible for the long- 
term planning that led to the opening of seven new schools in 
Elizabeth, plus one more being under construction and one 
awaiting commencement of construction. 

In 2005, when the Board informed Superintendent Dunn that 
his contract would not be renewed, Pablo Mufioz was named Acting 
Superintendent and became Superintendent in 2006. A summary of 
educational progress led by Superintendent Mufioz appears in 
another section of this Report. 

During the period between 1996 and 2005, the political 
rivalry between the Lesniak/Bollwage organization and Continue 
the Progress persisted. Candidates backed by the 
Lesniak/Bollwage organization were elected in 1996, 1997 and 
2006, but a majority of the Board members during this period 
were affiliated with or supported by the Continue the Progress 
organization . 

The hostility and political antagonism on the part of the 
Lesniak/Bollwage political organization toward Board members 
supported by Continue the Progress intensified in 2006, as a 
result of a lawsuit filed by the Board of Education against the 
City of Elizabeth, the Mayor and City Council, Trumbull Street 
Business Center, LLC, and Luis and Vivian Rodriguez. The 
pleadings and briefs filed by McCarter & English, the Board's 

7 



attorneys in the litigation, explain the events that led to the 
suit. Since the late 1990s, the Board had been concerned about 
overcrowding at Elizabeth High School, whose 5,300 students were 
accommodated in buildings designed for 3,000 students. Because 
the overcrowding posed safety risks and created educational 
limitations, the Board tried to find a site for a new vocational 
high school and physical education complex to relieve the 
overcrowding. Initially, the Board focused on a site owned by 
New Jersey Transit, but city officials stated that the city 
intended to acquire that site for redevelopment purposes. 
Thereafter, the city encouraged the Board to consider four other 
sites for the vocational high school including the Johnson 
Machinery site, the ELG Metal site, a Jefferson Avenue site and 
property on Grand Street near Routes 1&9 . Subsequently, city 
officials withdrew their support for the ELG Metal site and the 
Jefferson Avenue site, and the Johnson Machinery and Grand 
Street sites were determined to be environmentally unacceptable. 

Accordingly, the Board refocused its attention on the New 
Jersey Transit site, and the Gunite property immediately 
adjacent to it, which contained nine acres and would accommodate 
both a vocational high school and a physical education complex. 
City officials again refused to make the property available to 
the Board, stating that the property was planned for 
redevelopment. At a meeting on December 8, 2005, between Mayor 



Bo 11 wage and Superintendent Mufioz , the Mayor reiterated that the 
Gunite and New Jersey Transit properties were not available, but 
that he would try again to locate alternative sites. On 
December 12, 2005, the Mayor called Superintendent Mufioz and 
informed him that he was rescinding his offer to help find an 
alternative site for the proposed vocational school because the 
Board had hired an appraiser to value the New Jersey Transit 
property. The Mayor said to Superintendent Mufioz : "You'll never 
get this school built." 

The complaint filed in the litigation alleged that on 
December 27 , 2005 , the Elizabeth City Council adopted Ordinance 
3774 that authorized the sale of the New Jersey Transit property 
to Trumbull Street Business Center, an LLC owned by Luis 
Rodriguez, a long time contributor to and supporter of Mayor 
Bo 11 wage, for $520 , 000 . The complaint attached an expert ' s 
appraisal of the property dated January 11, 2006 that valued the 
property at $5,125,000.00. The complaint sought injunctive 
relief, alleging that the proposed sale was part of a "scheme" 
among the defendants to convey and acquire public property at 
prices below market value for private gain. 

After the complaint was filed by the Board, all defendants 
agreed to the imposition of temporary restraints prohibiting any 
sale or transfer of the New Jersey Transit property. In 
February 2006, the Council rescinded its prior resolutions 



designating Rodriguez and Trumbull as developers of the 

property. The following month, the City Council adopted 

Ordinance 3801, which rescinded Ordinance 3774, as well as the 

sale of the New Jersey Transit property to Trumbull and its 

designation as developer of the property. 

Retaliation against the Board for challenging the property 

transaction was swift. In March 2006, Senator Lesniak requested 

the State Assembly's Budget Committee to scrutinize the finances 

of the Elizabeth School District and also requested that the 

State Department of Education appoint a monitor to oversee the 

district's spending. In an editorial appearing in the Star 

Ledger on April 1, 2006 and entitled "Looks Like Payback," the 

Ledger observed: 

What we fear is that this is not about 
dealing with mismanagement of public funds. 
It's about payback. Lesniak seems to be out 
to punish the school board and by extension 
the taxpayers of Elizabeth. That's as 
indefensible as the original multimillion- 
dollar giveaway to the developer. 

A copy of the Star Ledger April 1, 2006, editorial is attached 

as Exhibit A to this Report. 

Notwithstanding the Star Ledger editorial, Senator Lesniak 

did not relent in his efforts to subject the school district to 

repeated and successive audits and investigations that consumed 

a disproportionate amount of staff and financial resources and 

distracted the district from its educational mission. From 

10 



March 2006 through October 2007, the Elizabeth School District 
was monitored twice by the State Department of Education, and 
subjected to two audits and nine investigations by the same 
agency. None of those proceedings uncovered any major budgeting 
or financial irregularities . 

In addition, in September 2006 the Office of the Inspector 
General of the U.S. Department of Education initiated an audit 
of the District's finances, apparently at the request of 
Congressman Robert Andrews, a Camden County congressman and a 
political ally of Senator Lesniak. Congressman Andrews, whose 
Congressional office in New Jersey is approximately eighty miles 
from Elizabeth, did not offer any explanation for his decision 
to single out Elizabeth's School District as a target for a 
federal audit. The audit's announcement was noted in a press 
release that expressed an intent "to determine if federal funds 
were used in accordance with applicable federal cost 
principles," observing that "Elizabeth families and students 
deserve nothing less." On September 25 and 29, 2006, 
Superintendent Munoz wrote to the U.S. Secretary of Education to 
inform her that the District suspected strongly that the audit 
was politically motivated, and that the fact of the audit 
already had been publicized in campaign literature distributed 
by opponents of the District. Those letters are attached as 
Exhibits B and C to this Report. 

11 



On April 12, 2007 - one week prior to Elizabeth's annual 
school board election - the Star Ledger reported that Elizabeth 
Mayor Chris Bo 11 wage publicly alleged that the Board of 
Education might have to repay as much as two million dollars to 
the federal government because of inadequacies in the District's 
documentation in support of Federal Title I, Part A, 
expenditures. Mayor Bollwage had obtained from the then Union 
County School Superintendent a copy of a confidential 
preliminary audit document prepared by the Department of 
Education's Inspector General, and apparently not publicly 
obtainable under the federal Freedom of Information Act. 

The Office of Inspector General issued its audit report on 
October 9, 2 007, concluding that the Elizabeth School District 
had not adequately documented certain costs charged to the Title 
I, Part A grant of federal funds, and identifying confusion 
regarding the District's process for allocating Title I, Part A 
funds and services to schools within the District. In a 
response submitted on May 15, 2008, Lucille Davy, Commissioner 
of the New Jersey Department of Education, requested that the 
findings and recommendations in the OIG report be reconsidered 
and withdrawn, observing that the District's actions were 
"consistent with federal requirements and did not result in any 
harm to federal programs . " 



12 



Additional information in support of Elizabeth's use of 
Title I funds and the adequacy of its documentation was provided 
on September 22, 2008 by the N.J. Department of Education. The 
ultimate result of the audit, explained in a letter to then 
Commissioner Schundler dated March 24, 2010, required repayment 
of only $12,939, attributable to the inadvertent purchase of 
four computers for $7,696 with Title I funds, and the 
expenditure of $5,243 of Title I funds for school supplies at 
six schools that had not been included in Elizabeth's Title I 
grant application. The final determination by the U.S. 
Department of Education was consistent with Commissioner Davy's 
contention that the Elizabeth School District's use and 
documentation of Title I funds was essentially consistent with 
federal requirements and did not cause harm to the federal Title 
I program. 

Senator Lesniak's persistent harassment of the Elizabeth 
School Board was aggressively supported by Mayor Bollwage. On 
February 21, 2006, a few weeks after the Mayor and Council had 
been restrained from proceeding with the sale of the New Jersey 
Transit property to a private developer, Mayor Bollwage sent a 
letter to Governor Jon Corzine accusing the Board of 
mismanagement and misuse of government funds and requesting that 
the State Department of Education assume control of the 
Elizabeth Public Schools: 

13 



At the very least, serious consideration 
should be given to the takeover of the 
Elizabeth Public School District by the 
State Department of Education as well as an 
external audit of all District finances 
should be conducted. 

A copy of the Mayor's letter to the Governor is attached as 

Exhibit D. 

From 2006 to 2010 the Elizabeth Board of Education was 
subjected to numerous audits and i nves t i ga t i ons by various State 
agencies , including the New Jersey Department of Education, 
whose Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance conducted 
ten or more separate investigations during the time period, the 
New Jersey Division of Public Contracts and the Office of 
Legislative Services. None of those audits or investigations 
resulted in findings that were materially critical of the 
District's management of its finances. Responding to and 
complying with record production demands by the investigating 
agencies required the District to expend countless hours of 
employee time and other valuable resources that were diverted 
from the District's educational mission. District 
administrative officials believe that many, if not most, of the 
audits and investigations resulted from political pressure 
exerted by Senator Lesniak or Mayor Bollwage. A timeline of 
audits and investigations targeting the Elizabeth School 



14 



District from 2005 to 2010 is attached to this Report as Exhibit 
E. 

In addition, during the same 2005-2010 time period, the 
Elizabeth Board of Education received over sixty separate Open 
Public Records Act (OPRA) requests for information, the 
originators of which were in most instances either directly or 
indirectly allied or affiliated with Senator Lesniak, Mayor 
Bo 11 wage or their political organizations. Many of the OPRA 
requests have multiple components. As was the case with the 
multiple audits and investigations, the extensive manpower and 
resources required to respond to the OPRA requests diverted 
employees from their educational and other responsibilities. 

The 2006 litigation between the Elizabeth Board of 
Education and Elizabeth's Mayor and Council over a prospective 
site for a new vocational high school precipitated highly 
adversarial elections for membership on the Board of Education 
in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, the Lesniak/Bollwage organizations 
supported a three-person slate of school board candidates 
(Carole Cascio, Madinah Hawkins and Carlos Alma) under the 
slogan "Committee for Change" that ran unsuccessfully against 
the three candidates backed by the "Continue the Progress" 
organization. Campaign reports filed with the Election Law 
Enforcement Commission reveal that the "Committee for Change" 
ticket outspent the winning candidates by more than $20,000. 

15 



In 2008, an extremely adversarial campaign was waged by the 
Lesniak/Bollwage "Committee for Change" candidates (Neptune 
Ambroise, Elizabeth Cano and Krishna Garlic) that also proved to 
be unsuccessful. Although the expenditure report filed in July 
2008 by Senator Lesniak's Election Fund reported an $8,200 
donation on April 15, 2008 to the "Committee for Change," and 
the J. Christian Bo 11 wage Election Fund reported a $5,000 
donation on March 6 , 2008 , no final Report of Contributions and 
Expenditures ever was filed with the Election Law Enforcement 
Committee by the Ambroise, Cano and Garlic campaign. A 
complaint filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission 
estimates that the "Committee for Change " campaign spent "well 
over $80, 000" on the election . 

The Lesniak/Bollwage organizations did not run opposition 
slates in the 2009 or 2010 Board of Education elections, 
although independent candidates unsuccessfully opposed the 
"Continue the Progress" slates in both years. In 2011, a slate 
of candidates (Charlene Bathelus, Silvia P. Nasi and Jose Marcos 
Rodriguez) supported by Senator Lesniak and Mayor Bollwage 
unsuccessfully challenged the Continue the Progress ticket. The 
Bathelus, Nasi and Rodriguez campaign outspent the Continue the 
Progress campaign by almost $12,000. 

This history of bare-knuckle politics by Senator Lesniak, 
Mayor Bollwage and their supporters toward the incumbent 

16 



Elizabeth School board members, largely omitted from the Star 
Ledger's articles and editorials, characterizes the 
extraordinarily hostile atmosphere in which the Board and its 
Superintendent have had to function during these past six years . 
The hostility shows no sign of abating. At a recent meeting in 
December 2011 of an organization known as Education Watchdogs, 
to which Senator Lesniak donated $7,500 on September 12, 2011, 
Senator Lesniak addressed the members in attendance. Senator 
Lesniak urged those attending to support his efforts to defeat 
the incumbent members of the Elizabeth School Board. Senator 
Lesniak also stated that former school principal and current 
Elizabeth City Council member Frank Cuesta would be appointed as 
the next Superintendent of Schools, replacing current 
Superintendent Pablo Munoz. 



17 



II 

EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS 

Pursuant to the New Jersey Constitution and laws enacted by 
the Legislature, the Elizabeth Board of Education is obligated 
to supervise the Elizabeth public schools and do all things 
necessary for their conduct, equipment and maintenance so as to 
assure that the students in the District receive a "thorough and 
efficient education." 

Ironically, the complaints and criticisms directed at 

Elizabeth School Board members by Senator Lesniak, Mayor 

Bo 11 wage and their followers rarely are directed at the quality 

of education provided by the Elizabeth schools. Based on the 

comprehensive review I have conducted, it would appear that the 

School Board's critics have not focused on educational issues 

because the Elizabeth Public Schools have made steady, 

comprehensive and measurable progress in the quality of 

education that the schools deliver to Elizabeth school students. 

That progress is evidenced and reflected by initiatives, 

reforms, innovations and achievement, including the following: 

1. Selection of School Board and Superintendent Munoz 

to Participate in Broad Foundation Training Programs. 

In 2008, the entire school Board was one of a very small 

number of school Boards throughout the country selected to 

participate in the Reform Governance in Action (RGA) program 



18 



sponsored by the Center for Reform of School Systems. The RGA 
program trains members of boards of education in the 
collaborative exercise of governance essential for a cohesive 
urban board of education. Substantially all of the cost of the 
Board's participation was funded by a grant from the Broad 
Foundation. Donald McAdams , the Chairman of the Center, has 
indicated that the Center regarded the Elizabeth Board as "a 
star participant" in the RGA program. 

The Broad Foundation also operates the Broad Superintendent 
Academy, a rigorous executive training program for urban school 
superintendents. Elizabeth Superintendent Pablo Munoz 
successfully completed the Academy's program in 2006, a year in 
which only seven percent of all applicants were accepted. Broad 
Academy Fellows have included leaders from business, government, 
education, the military and non-profit organizations. 

In order to stay informed of the progress of school 
districts led by superintendents trained by the Broad 
Superintendent Academy, the Broad Center for the Management of 
School Systems, a Broad Foundation affiliate, regularly tracks 
student achievement in those districts. In response to a 
request for a summary evaluation of the Elizabeth School 
District's performance under Superintendent Muhoz, Becca Bracy 
Knight, Executive Director of the Center, sent the following 
statement : 

19 



Elizabeth's performance in 2010 was above 
expectations for all grade levels and for 
both math and English Language Arts given 
the district's poverty rate. Over the 
period of Mr. Munoz ' tenure the district's 
math and language arts proficiency rates 

l"lcl*V€! IT jL S €J2T1 f cLiE3 1- €2 XT t tlcUl t tlC5 S C» 1 I"! O t JriG. "X* 
OITljpci ITclt) 1 C2 dLl £3 1- IT jL C- 1 S 1 I"! til"! €5 £3 t. t3» t> G ■ I H 

addition, the district has moved students up 
from lower performance levels faster than 
other comparable districts in the state. 

2 . Consistent and Comprehensive Improvement in 
Standardized Test Scores. 



The scores achieved by Elizabeth school students on New 
Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge tests (NJ ASK) (grades 
3 to 8) and on the High School Proficiency Assessment test 
(HSPA) (grade 11) have improved in language arts and mathematics 
in every year since 2005, the year when Pablo Munoz became 
Acting Superintendent. Those test results for all school 
districts are reported annually by the Department of Education 
on the New Jersey School Report Card, based on the results of 
tests administered by Measurement Incorporated, an authorized 
testing company responsible for creating and scoring all New 
Jersey tests. Moreover, compared to the percentage of 
proficiency scores of students in the thirty-seven other school 
districts within the DFG(A) school districts, those with 
students in the lowest socio-economic status of all communities 
in the State, Elizabeth students' comparable ranking in every 
grade tested (grades 3-8 and grade 11), in both language arts 



20 



and mathematics, has improved significantly. For example, in 

2005, Elizabeth's grade 3 language arts ranking among all 38 DFG 

A Districts was 16th; in 2011 it was 8th. In 2005 Elizabeth's 

grade 3 mathematics ranking was 15th; in 2 011 it was 6th. 

Similarly, in 2005, its grade 7 language arts ranking was 18th; 

in 2011 it was 9th. In 2005 Elizabeth's grade 7 mathematics 

ranking was 23rd; in 2011 it was 5th. Elizabeth has improved 

its ranking in language arts and mathematics in every one of the 

intervening years since 2 005 for every one of the grades for 

which the New Jersey School Report Card has provided data. 

Elizabeth's eighth-grade students also have achieved 

exceptional improvement in the State's standardized mathematics 

tests since the district introduced Algebra 1 as a course 

requirement for all eighth graders in 2006-07. That curriculum 

enhancement was recommended to participating District 

administrators by a professional development program called 

"Team Leadership for Mathematics in Middle and High Schools." 

From 2 008 to 2 011, Elizabeth eighth graders increased their 

proficiency percentage on the NJ ASK mathematics test by 51%, 

improving from 36.6% proficiency in 2008 to 55.3% in 2011. 

3. Collaboration with Merck Institute for Science 

Education. 

The Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE) , funded by 

a $38 million commitment from Merck & Co, Inc., has been working 



21 



collaboratively with the Elizabeth Public Schools to provide 
intensive, sustainable and systemic reform in mathematics and 
science instruction. As a result, the Elizabeth Public Schools 
are now a participant in the Academy for Leadership and Science 
Instruction, a three-year program to build effective school- 
based teams of educators whose goal it is to improve the science 
instructional practices in Elizabeth schools. Elizabeth's 
partnership with the Merck Institute for Science Education has 
helped the District to improve significantly the quality of its 
science education. That improvement is evidenced by a 
substantial increase in the percentage of proficiency of 
Elizabeth students on State administered standardized science 
tests. In 2004-05, the percentage of proficiency of Elizabeth 
fourth grade students was 56%; in 2010-11, the percentage of 
proficiency was 77%, an improvement of thirty-eight percent over 
the 2004-05 results. For Elizabeth eighth graders, the 
percentage of proficiency on those standardized science tests 
was 44% in 2004-05; in 2010-11, their percentage of proficiency 
was 69%, an improvement of fifty- seven (57%) percent over the 
2004-05 scores. 

Dr. Carlo Parravano, the Executive Director of the Merck 
Institute for Science Education, has been working 
collaboratively with the Elizabeth Public Schools to improve 
science education from Kindergarten through 12 th grade. The 



partnership between MISE and Elizabeth expanded in 2008 to 

include the Academy for Leadership in Science Instruction, a 

three year training program to assist Elizabeth science teachers 

in their classroom presentation. Dr. Parravano states that he 

"feels strongly that the increase in student scores on the state 

science tests is linked to the work of the Elizabeth Public 

Schools/Merck Institute of Science Partnership." 

4. Restructuring and Reconfiguring of District's 

Elementary School s . 

A major restructuring of the District ' s elementary schools 
has occurred in the past five years . Consistent with 
initiatives implemented by some of the nation ' s high-performing 
urban school systems , Elizabeth has replaced all six of its 
middle schools (grades 6-8 ) with reconfigured elementary schools 
serving grades K-8. That reconfiguration is intended to enhance 
the stability of the elementary school experience, eliminating a 
transition to middle school, improve student achievement, and 
reduce discipline and behavioral problems . 

Simultaneously, the Elizabeth School District successfully 
planned and completed construction of seven new public schools, 
enabling the District to fully implement its replacement of 
middle schools with K-8 schools. The newly constructed schools 
are Nos . 51 and 52, two Early Childhood Centers that each 
accommodate approximately 3 00 3-4 year olds; Nos. 27 and 28, two 



Pre-K-8 neighborhood schools that together serve approximately 

1,900 students; School No. 29, a Pre-K-8 magnet school that 

offers a curriculum concentrated in science and technology 

courses; School No. 30, a magnet school with a curriculum that 

includes leadership training; and School No. 31, a Pre-K-8 

neighborhood school that temporarily houses approximately 950 

students who formerly attended two schools undergoing major 

renovations. District administrators believe the improved 

classroom facilities resulting from the construction of seven 

new schools and the replacement of middle schools with K-8 

schools has contributed substantially to the District-wide 

improvement in standardized test scores. In addition, since the 

elimination of middle schools the District has experienced a 

marked reduction in incidents of violence, vandalism and 

substance abuse. 

5. Decentralization and Reorganization of District's 
High School Program. 

A major restructuring also has occurred in the District's 

high school program. In 2005, Elizabeth High School served a 

student population of 5,200 students and was one of the largest 

high schools in the nation. Beginning with the 2009-10 school 

year, the Elizabeth school District reconfigured the high 

school, and divided it into six separate and distinct high 

schools to provide more focused and diversified course offerings 



for Elizabeth's students. The following high schools represent 
the curriculum options available to the approximately 4,975 
Elizabeth high school students: 

a. Elizabeth High School 

This high school program is the most demanding of the six 
programs. To qualify, students must have earned a 3.0 grade 
point average in elementary school. The program, as is required 
for all six of the High School programs, mandates completion of 
160 academic credits, forty more credits than the State 
Department of Education requires, and sixty hours of community 
service. Requirements for graduation in the various academic 
disciplines are generally more demanding than State standards. 
In addition, all students must accumulate ten credits in Latin, 
five additional credits in foreign languages and successfully 
complete a Senior Project. Over ninety (90%) percent of 
students graduating from this program in 2010 and 2 011 pursued 
post -secondary education in a two-year or four-year college. 

b. Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy 

Among the more popular of the high school programs is the 
Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy, a novel initiative that 
is available to students with a 2.0 grade point average who 
demonstrate academic potential and are committed to preparing 
for post-secondary education. The Academy integrates its 
academic curriculum with a research-based instructional 



methodology known as AVID (Advancement Via Individual 
Determination) , that provides individualized support and 
tutoring for students participating in a challenging college 
preparatory curriculum. More than 4,500 schools in 48 states 
and 16 countries offer the AVID program, including 26 schools in 
16 New Jersey school districts. The Academy attracts many 
students whose parents never attended college and constitutes a 
unique program designed to expand opportunities for post- 
secondary education for students willing and able to fulfill the 
Academy's requirements. One of the District's highest 
performing High Schools, 92.5% of ninth-grade students and 90.8% 
of eleventh-grade students demonstrated proficiency in Language 
Arts on the standardized test results released in 2 011. 
Approximately fifty-percent of the 2011 graduating class plan to 
attend a four-year college or university and about forty-five- 
percent of the class plan to attend a junior or community 
college . 

c. John E. Dwyer Technology Academy 

Students enrolled in the John E. Dwyer Technology Academy 
are offered a comprehensive college preparatory program that is 
integrated with the Academy's two specialized areas of 
concentration: Industrial Technology and Information Technology. 

The Industrial Technology Program includes course offerings 
in electronics, biotechnology, civil engineering, architecture 



and aerospace. The Informational Technology program includes 
courses in computer science, robotics, computer infrastructure 
design, hardware design and implementation. 

d. Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy 
Students enrolled in the Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy are 
required to complete a comprehensive college preparatory 
curriculum while participating in one of the following areas of 
concentration : 

• Creative Writing, including participation in 
school publications and courses in communications, graphic arts, 
printing and production; 

• Theater, including participation in student 
performances and instruction in staging, scenic design, 
children's theater, make-up and costume structure and design; 

• visual Arts, including instruction in drawing, 
painting, computer graphics, commercial art and sculpture, as 
well as participation in school and community art exhibits; 

• Performing Arts, including instruction in music 
theory, composition and improvisation, and participation in 
concert band, orchestra, string and jazz ensembles, vocal music 
and dance performances; 



27 



• Audio and Visual Media, including instruction and 
participation in audio and video editing, programming and 
production techniques . 

e. Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership Academy 
In addition to a comprehensive college preparatory 

curriculum, this Academy offers programs and activities designed 
to develop leadership skills, with emphasis on peer leadership, 
community service and student government activities . 
Instructional programs are offered in Military Leadership, 
including participation in the school's Marine Corps Junior 
Reserve Officer Training Corps ; Criminal Justice and Law, with 
courses and activities related to law enforcement and the legal 
system; Education Leadership, emphasizing skills designed to 
prepare students for a career in education; and Business 
Leadership, with courses and internships designed to help 
students in developing entrepreneurial, management and 
administrative skills useful for success in a business oriented 
career . 

f . Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Academy 

In addition to offering a college preparatory curriculum, 
this Academy also undertakes to prepare students to learn a 
skilled trade. Four areas of instruction are emphasized: 



28 



• Construction Technology, focusing on construction 
trades such as carpentry, electrical contracting, plumbing, and 
heating, ventilating and air conditioning; 

• Health Science, focusing on careers in patient 
care, nursing, radiology, medical technology and healthcare 
administration; 

• Automotive Technology, focusing on automotive 
diagnostics, mechanics, operations and repairs ; 

• Hospitality and Retail Service, which focuses on 
preparing students for careers in marketing, sales, hotel and 
restaurant management and related fields. 

Results of High School Reorganization 

Superintendent Munoz and his support staff believe that the 

reconfiguration of the high school and related initiatives are 

yielding promising results. As noted, beginning with the Class 

of 2010 all high school students must accumulate 160 credits to 

graduate, rather than 130 hours as previously required. In 

addition, a requirement of sixty hours of community service has 

been implemented, with high school students volunteering to work 

at numerous food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens, United 

Way, Coalition to House the Homeless, and at various preschools 

and day care centers where they provide tutoring and support 

services. The school day has been extended in all six high 

schools by one hour daily, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:56 p.m. 

29 



Consistent with the enhanced rigor of the curriculum, the high 
schools have substantially increased the number of Advanced 
Placement course offerings and Advanced Placement examinations 
available to students. Significantly, there has been a 249% 
increase in Advanced Placement examinations from 2005 to 2011. 

In that connection, the Washington Post newspaper annually 
ranks the nation's high schools (excluding magnet and charter 
schools) based on a Challenge Index designed to measure how 
effectively high schools prepare their students for college. 
The Index is calculated by taking into account the size of a 
High School's graduating class and the number of Advanced 
Placement or other college level tests offered to the students, 
on the assumption that the extent of the availability and 
implementation of college preparatory testing is highly 
indicative of a high school's commitment to preparing its 
students for college. In 2 011, the Washington Post's Challenge 
Index ranked Elizabeth High School second in the State of New 
Jersey and 17 6 th nationally. See http : / /apps .Washington 
post . com/highschoolchallenge/ schools/ 2 Oil /list /national/ . 

Standardized test results since the reconfiguration of the 
high school in 2009 have revealed significant improvements in 
Language Arts and Mathematics proficiency for Grades 9, 10 and 
11. From 2009 to 2011, the percentage of proficiency 
improvement in Language Arts and Mathematics was as follows: 

30 













2009 


2010 


Ql 


% Change 


Grade 9 - Language 
Arts 


64.5 


71.4 


66.5 


+3 . 1% 


Grade 9- 
Mathematics 


44.2 


50.1 


54.8 


+24.0% 


Grade 10- 
Language Arts 


63.3 


66.5 


65.6 


+3 . 6% 


Grade 10- 
Mathematics 


49 .3 


53 .1 


63 .5 


+28 . 8 % 


Grade 11- 
Language Arts 


63 .2 


67.6 


73 .8 


+16.8% 


Grade 11- 
Mathematics 


43 .0 


49.4 


50.4 


+17 .2% 



6 . Panasonic Foundation 

The Panasonic Foundation is a non-profit foundation that 
provides technical assistance to 10 school districts around the 
country, including Elizabeth Public Schools in New Jersey, and 
works with 12 superintendents participating in the New Jersey 
Network of Superintendents, including Pablo Munoz. The mission 
of the Panasonic Foundation is to partner with public school 
districts and their communities to break the links between race, 
poverty, and educational outcomes by improving the academic and 
social success of all students. 

In 2008, the Foundation initiated outreach to New Jersey 
urban school districts to identify and then establish a 
partnership with a New Jersey school district. Early in 2008, 
the Foundation sent an invitational letter to the 24 
superintendents in New Jersey whose school districts serve at 
least 6,000 students and with at least 30% of these students 

31 



qualifying for free or reduced-price meals. Two districts 
responded: Elizabeth and New Brunswick. Both districts were 
visited by a team of five Panasonic Foundation representatives 
The Foundation's site visit protocol, including conducting 
interviews and forums, visiting schools, reviewing of student 
performance data, and gathering information was used in both 

ell S t. IT 1 C» "t £> * 

The Panasonic visiting team, after debriefing the visits 
each district, selected the Elizabeth Public Schools as a good 
match for the Panasonic Partnership Program. Elizabeth Public 
Schools demonstrated readiness, willingness, openness, and 
candor important to support the viability of a long-term 
partnership. Further, the district presented clear evidence of 
a) an enacted vision and mission; b) willingness of the Board, 
superintendent and collective bargaining units to support 
coherent and aligned continuous improvement efforts; c) 
commitment to reform; d) potential for giving Panasonic 
Foundation consultants access to the core work of the District 
and e) a culture of learning. 

Using the Elizabeth Public Schools Strategic Plan as the 
starting point, Panasonic Foundation consultants and Elizabeth 
Public Schools leaders identified and agreed upon five broad 
areas on which to focus the work of the partnership: 



1. Building the capacity of schools to develop and 
implement school-level improvement plans in ways that 
would be informed by and aligned with the overall 
District Strategic Plan; 

2. Developing a shared, system-wide definition of "what 
does good instruction look like?" so that all 
improvement efforts can be guided by, and directed 
toward, a common vision of instructional excellence; 

3 • EiTjL jL 1 dl 2T1CJ" 1 1*1 €2 O cLJ3cL C 1 t^j^* O f t til €5 13 H. S 1 XT jL C t S SIS t cUT t 

Superintendents to coach, mentor, supervise, and 
evaluate the instructional leadership of Principals 
and Vice-Principals ; 

4. Designing a specific process for supporting growth and 
improvement in the District's lowest-performing 
schools; and 

5 , Designing and implementing a process that focuses 
school-level and system-level staff on the critical 
importance of the " instructional core" ( teacher, 
student, content) for improving teaching and learning. 

Since June of 2 009, these five major areas of focus have 
guided the work of the partnership. Each summer, through a 
comprehensive Partnership Review Process, Panasonic Foundation 
senior consultants and Elizabeth Public Schools leaders review 
the progress that has been made in each of these broad areas, 
jointly assess the degree to which the indicators of success 
have been realized, and offer recommendations as to how the 
collaborative partnership work can be improved. 

Dr. Larry Leverett, Executive Director of the Panasonic 
Foundation, offered these comments about the Foundation's 



experience in consulting with the Elizabeth Public Schools: 



The Foundation looks forward to a continued 
partnership with the Elizabeth Public 
Schools. The district is tirelessly focused 
on the improvement of teaching and learning 
and is committed to build shared ownership 
across all stakeholders for the success of 
all Elizabeth Public School students. The 
performance of Elizabeth Public Schools 
students on state accountability measures 
indicates steady progress, and the board, 
superintendent, senior leadership, school 
leaders and teaching staff are to be 
commended for their aligned efforts to 
advance the vision of college and career 

3T* €J 31 dl XI €2 £3 £3 f O IT 3L 1 1 £> XACLo^I-t "t 5 » 13 1 £5 t° XT 1 "t cUTXCL 

school leaders recognize the long road ahead 

iw O (3. C* Jtf3. jL i_- 1c\ C*^ -L. 3C '"y 3_ £5 3* C3X3. J» C*^ -HT Jz!i jL. 3* ^> clifc? C2- *tn Hn ^r^XJL Jc^ 1 3— 

Schools graduates and have established the 
foundation upon which to build toward the 
bold vision. The Panasonic Foundation views 
Elizabeth to be a strong, capable, inspired 
partner school district that is aggressively 
pursuing a vision of college and career 
readiness for all students. The Foundation 
has been and continues to be pleased to be 
partnering with Elizabeth Public Schools and 
joins the Elizabeth community in celebrating 
improvements in student performance in a 
number of areas . 



7 . National Blue Ribbon Schools 



In 1982, the United States Department of Education 
initiated the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, which 
recognizes public and non-public schools in which students 
achieve at very high levels or in which students are making the 
most progress in reducing the achievement gap by improving 
student performance. The program is one component of a 
Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate 
knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices. 



From 1982 to date, Blue Ribbons have been awarded to 125 New- 
Jersey public and charter schools, most of which - approximately 
sixty percent - are located in the wealthiest districts in the 
State. (DFG GH, I&J) . Only six percent of the schools 
designated were in District Factor Group A. 

i3 mc* €5 2 5 1 1 1*1 jt~* C2 g El 1 1 z cijio^zi tin €5 1 €5nnc^rx t- ciicy s c-lrxc3 C5 1 £5 tici'vc* cix 
honored with the Blue Ribbon School designation: William F. 
Halloran School No. 22 (2006) ; Victor Mravlag School No. 21 
(2 008) ; and Terence C . Reilly School No. 7 (2011) . Those 
schools did not receive their Blue Ribbons on the basis of the 
less rigorous eligibility standard entitled "Exemplary Improving 
Schools," which are schools with at least forty percent of their 
students from disadvantaged backgrounds that have shown the most 
progress in State standardized tests in Language Arts and 
Mathematics over the past five years. Rather, the three 
Elizabeth Schools earned their designation under the standard 
entitled "Exemplary High Performing Schools". Under that 
standard, irrespective of a school's demographics or its 
percentage of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, an 
eligible school is one that is ranked among its State's highest 
performing schools as measured by State assessments in both 
Language Arts and Mathematics. Accordingly, Elizabeth's three 
schools won their Blue Ribbons because they were among the 



State's highest performing schools, and not on the basis of 
their progress in improving student performance. 

Significantly, from 2005 to 2011, the period of 
Superintendent Munoz's service, Elizabeth was the only school 
district in New Jersey to have three schools awarded the 
National Blue Ribbon. 

Although the demographics of the three Elizabeth Blue 
Ribbon Schools were irrelevant to their designation, the 
schools' demographic statistics are revealing. In 2011, 82% of 
the enrollment at Terence C . Reilly School No . 7 was black or 
Hispanic , and 73% of the students were eligible for free 
lunches . 2 In 2008 , 71% of the enrollment at Victor Mravlag 
School No. 21 was black or Hispanic and 40% of the students were 
eligible for free lunches . In 2006 , 77% of the enrollment at 
William F . Halloran School No. 22 was black or Hispanic , and 45% 
of the students were eligible for free lunches. 

8 . Pre-School 

The Elizabeth Public Schools currently serve 3,555 
preschool students ages 3 and 4 in its early childhood program 
both in-district and at nine provider sites. At three of those 
sites the district has opened early childhood centers that 
provide a Dual Language Program to 900 preschool students. The 
Dual Language Program offers children the opportunity to acquire 

2 Eligibility for free lunches indicates that the income of the student's 
parent or parents is low enough to meet federal criteria for free lunches. 



a second language while providing support in maintaining the 
native language for English and Spanish speakers. In addition, 
the Dual Language Program enables native Spanish speakers to 
maintain and reinforce their heritage, language and culture. 

Since 2004-2005 , the Elizabeth Public Schools preschool 
program has seen a 23% increase in classroom assessment scores 
when preschool classrooms are evaluated using the Early 
Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) . The 
ECERS-R measures the classroom environment including the program 
structure, activities and interactions , language- reasoning, and 
personal care routines to determine the quality of the program 
implementation . During the 2004-2005 school year, a random 
sample of 19 classrooms was evaluated using the ECERS-R by the 
Early Learning Improvement Consortium and scored a 4.98 on a 7 
point rating scale . In the spring of 2010 , the Elizabeth 
Publics Schools contracted with William Patterson University to 
conduct the ECERS-R in all 192 preschool classrooms district- 
wide and received an average score of 5.67. The following year, 
the district expanded its preschool program to include another 
29 in-district classrooms and again engaged an outside evaluator 
to conduct the ECERS-R on 221 preschool classrooms district wide 
for the 2010-2011 school year. The district contracted with the 
National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) to 
conduct the 2010-2011 ECERS-R and received a district-wide 

37 



average of 6.14 on a 7 point scale. That score reflects a 23% 
improvement since the 2004-2005 school year. 

The excellence of Elizabeth's Early Childhood program has 
had a significant influence on the composite percentage of 
proficiency scores for grades K-2 . In 2010, percentage of 
proficiency scores for reading in grades K-2 were 80%, in 
language arts 87% and in mathematics 87%. 

9 . Perfect Score Awards 

The Elizabeth Public Schools conduct an annual Perfect 
Score Awards Ceremony to honor those students (and their 
teachers) who achieved a perfect score on one or more of the New 
Jersey assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK) tests 
administered annually in Language Arts, Mathematics and Science 
to all third through eighth graders. In 2005, the year in which 
Pablo Munoz became acting Superintendent, only 12 Perfect Score 
Awards were achieved by Elizabeth grade school students. In 
2011, 33 Perfect Score Awards were achieved by Elizabeth Public 
School students who received awards at the Perfect Scores Awards 
Ceremony held on November 22, 2011, an increase of 2,650%. 

10 . Other Awards and Recognitions 

A. In 2011, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, 
founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. 
Clinton Foundation, recognized seventeen Elizabeth Public 
Schools - ten with Silver Awards and seven with Bronze Awards - 

38 



for transforming their schools into healthier places for 
students to learn. To earn those awards, each school 
reconfigured its food service and physical activity programs to 
meet or exceed stringent standards set by the Alliance's Healthy 
Schools Program, an initiative supported by the Robert Wood 
Johnson Foundation that provides resources and advice to schools 
throughout the country to help reverse the national trend of 
childhood obesity. At the award ceremony, former President Bill 
Clinton singled out the cities of Elizabeth, New Jersey; Miami, 
Florida; Los Angeles, California; and Prince George's County, 
Maryland, for having the highest numbers of schools to receive 
those awards . 

B. On November 5, 2 011, the 14 5 -member Elizabeth 
High School Marching Band, competing against a field of 42 other 
New Jersey High School Marching Bands, won the United States 
Scholastic Band Association Group V State Championship. The 
marching band, whose members practice together throughout the 
year, including summers, also won awards for "Best Music," "Best 
Percussion" and "Best Visual." 

C. In 2007, Elizabeth's Dr. Albert Einstein Academy 
School No. 29 was one of twenty- five schools in the nation to be 
selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
(NASA) to participate in a three-year program focused on 
improving education in mathematics, science and technology. The 



designation of the 25 National Explorer Schools took place at 
the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, home of the nation's 
space agency. 

D. On December 2, 2011, the Architectural Drafting 
class at Elizabeth's John Dwyer Technology Academy participated 
in a bridge building competition with 15 other High Schools from 
Union, Middlesex and Warren Counties. In the Novice category, 
the bridges designed by John Dwyer students placed first and 
second of the 25 bridge designs submitted. The winning entries , 
designed by 17 John Dwyer Academy students, were recognized for 
having the lightest weight and the highest weight-bearing 
capacity of the 25 submissions. 

11. School Uniform Initiative 

Starting in 2006, the Elizabeth Board of Education adopted 
a school uniform policy in the belief that uniforms could foster 
school spirit, contribute to a sense of community and improve 
student discipline. A survey of parent opinion in the 
elementary schools revealed overwhelming support for uniforms, 
even before the Board of Education announced that it would pay 
for one set of uniforms for each child. 

As of October 2011, 22,573 students, out of the total 
enrollment of 23,410 students, wear uniforms on a daily basis. 
The only non-uniform school in the District is the Jefferson 
Arts Academy. District administrators believe that the School 

40 



Uniform Initiative has had a positive effect on student morale 
and has contributed to a cohesive and collaborative learning 
environment , 

-k ~k -k 

The foregoing summary of the Elizabeth School District's 
educational progress under the leadership of Superintendent 
Munoz , achieved with the committed support of the members of the 
Board of Education, demonstrates that an adequately funded urban 
school district, with strong leadership, can vastly improve the 
educational opportunities of its students . By any measure, the 
educational achievements of Elizabeth school students during the 
past six years has been outstanding. The culture of 
politicization and cronyism, repeatedly alleged to exist in the 
district by Senator Lesniak and Mayor Bollwage, and echoed by 
the Star Ledger articles , never could exist or survive in a 
district with so exemplary and extraordinary a record of 
achievement as Elizabeth has documented. 



41 



Ill 



EMPLOYEE INTERVIEWS 3 

This was the headline of the lead story on the front page 

of the Star Ledger on Sunday, May 22, 2011: 

Investigation Finds Elizabeth School Board 
Pressures Workers To Till Campaign Coffers. 

The ensuing article states that 

[ t ] eachers and other employees *** say they 
feel pressured by supervisors and board 
members to buy tickets to fundraisers . They 
say they are reminded that attending 
campaign events is in their best interest. 



Those interviewed said the pressure to 
contribute in Elizabeth is always there; 
that not playing for the team was a bad 
career move. 

I interviewed those individuals responsible for fundraising 
for School Board campaigns waged by current and prior members of 
the Board about the Star Ledger allegations. They informed me 
that those allegations were false and unfounded, and stated 



3 The conclusions reached in this report are based in part on interviews of 
131 randomly selected employees of the Elizabeth Board of Education, 
including teachers, administrators, clerical and support staff, security and 
custodial personnel. The selection of interviewees from the aggregate list 
of all BOE employees was made by Dr. Jimmy de la Torre, an associate 
professor of Educational Statistics and Measurement in the Department of 
Educational Psychology, Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Dr. de la 
Torre was retained by Pashman Stein to assist it in the conduct of this 
internal review. One of his functions was to randomly select, without 
consultation either with Pashman Stein or any members of or advisors to the 
EBOE, the names of employees of the EBOE to be interviewed by attorneys from 
Pashman Stein. Dr. de la Torre made his selection randomly from a list that 
included all of the employees of the EBOE. In addition to the employees 
randomly selected for interview, targeted interviews were conducted with 
current and former Board members, employees and others that had information 
and insight regarding various aspects of the Districts operations. 



42 



unequivocally that no one in a position of responsibility for 
School Board campaign fundraising events would exert pressure on 
employees to buy tickets to those events. In addition, they 
informed me that, except for two dinners in 2010 and 2011, the 
solicitation of ticket purchases for Board campaign fundraising 
events had been conducted almost exclusively by mail, from a 
mailing list compiled over the past decade by the "Continue the 
Progress" political organization. Customarily, persons 
solicited would purchase tickets by sending checks by mail to 
the return address designated on the invitation, with a small 
number of attendees paying at the door. Another section of this 
Report entitled "Recommendations" contains a list of 17 
fundraising events for Board campaigns, dating back to 2003, 
with dates, event descriptions and ticket prices, for which 
attendees were solicited to purchase tickets primarily by mail. 

In addition to interviewing individuals responsible for 
organizing Board campaign fundraiser events, lawyers from 
Pashman Stein interviewed 131 employees of the Elizabeth school 
system on the subject of donations to, and participation in, 
school board election campaigns. As noted above, the names of 
the employees selected for interviews were randomly chosen by 
Professor Jimmy de la Torre, an Associate Professor of 
Educational Statistics and Measurement in the Department of 
Educational Psychology at Rutgers Graduate School of Education, 

43 



without consultation with either Pashman Stein attorneys or 
Elizabeth School Board personnel. The 131 employees who were 
interviewed represent about 25% of the 532 individuals contacted 
to be part of this study. P 

interviewees from a list of all school board employees, that 
grouped the employees into four functional categories : Group A, 
Managers and Administrators; Group B, Teachers/Certified Staff; 
Group C, Skilled Assistants, Child Development Associates, 
Computer Technicians and Professionals; and Group D, Clerical, 
Skilled and Unskilled Labor, Food Service, Attendants, Security 
Guards and Liaisons. Of the employees interviewed, 20 were from 
Group A, 53 were from Group B, 23 were from Group C and 35 were 
from Group D . 5 

The results of the employee interviews convincingly 
demonstrate that the Star Ledger's reporting of pervasive 
pressure on employees to donate to Board election campaigns is 
baseless and untrue. Of the 131 employees interviewed, 54 never 
have donated to a Board campaign (41%) , and 77 have donated to 
one or more campaigns (59%) . Of the 117 employees who responded 
to a question about volunteering for Board campaigns, 74 never 

4 Employees contacted were requested to participate in the interviews, but 
were told that participation was voluntary, not mandatory. Of the 532 
employees contacted, 243 did not respond, 139 declined to be interviewed and 
19 were not interviewed because of scheduling and similar issues. 

5 A separate analysis was conducted to take into account the relative sizes of 
the functional categories in the district. Although the numbers are 
different, they do not change the conclusions of this study. 

44 



have volunteered (63%) and 43 have volunteered for one or more 
campaigns (37%) . 

Of the 131 interviewees, 108 stated that they were 
solicited to make campaign donations or to attend fundraiser 
events. Of the 98 employees who specifically responded to a 
question about mail solicitations, 93 confirmed that they had 
received solicitations to donate or attend fundraisers by mail 
(95%) . Out of 66 employees who responded to a question about in 
person solicitations, 8 stated that they had been solicited in 
person (12%) . Of the 62 employees who responded to a question 
about email solicitations , 8 stated that they had been solicited 
by email (11.5%) The 108 employees who acknowledged receiving 
solicitations to donate or attend fundraisers include 12 
employees who did not identify how they were solicited, and 13 
other employees who were solicited by more than one method (7 by 
mail and email, 5 by mail and in person and one by mail, in 
person and by email . ) 

Of the 131 employees interviewed, only one employee 
responded affirmatively to the question whether the employee 
felt pressure to donate to a campaign. The other 130 employees 
responded in the negative, indicating that they never had felt 
pressure to donate to campaigns . The lone individual who 
acknowledged feeling pressure explained that, in connection with 
the dinner in 2 011 honoring Superintendent Munoz the proceeds of 

45 



which were intended to support legislative candidates in the 
Democratic primary election, his supervisor had left an 
invitation and ticket on his desk and told him that "he should 
go." As a result, the employee acknowledged feeling "a little 
pressure" to donate to that event. 

Of the 127 employees responding, only one employee 
responded affirmatively to the question whether the employee 
felt pressure to volunteer to help during a campaign. The other 
127 employees answered in the negative , indicating that they 
never had felt pressure to volunteer to assist in a campaign. 
The lone individual who acknowledged feeling what was described 
as "a little bit of [indirect] pressure," apparently was 
referring to participation in the 2 011 Democratic primary 
election for the State legislature. That individual, who was 
the same individual that acknowledged feeling "a little 
pressure" to purchase a ticket to the dinner honoring 
Superintendent Muhoz, also acknowledged receiving several 
promotions after originally being hired by the Board, and stated 
that those promotions were unrelated to any donations or 
volunteer activities in which the employee had participated. He 
also stated that he has been treated fairly during his 
employment by the Board, and was not aware of any preferential 
treatment of Board members' relatives or of senior 
administrators . 



In addition to questioning employees about whether they had 
been the recipient of pressure either to donate to or volunteer 
to help with campaigns, lawyers from Pashman Stein asked all 
interviewees whether they knew of other employees who felt 
pressure to donate or volunteer. 

Out of 124 responses, only one employee (.81%) responded 
affirmatively to the question whether other employees may have 
felt pressure to volunteer. That interviewee stated that "he 
thinks some *** co-workers felt pressure to volunteer" because 
others in the department who were politically active " tried to 
get others to come and help out," which he characterized as 
"peer pressure." 

Of the 129 interviewees who responded to the question 
whether they knew of others who may have felt pressure to 
donate, seven employees (5.43%) responded affirmatively. One of 
those respondents said that he "thinks that some other employees 
felt pressure to donate or go to parties". Another respondent 
said she knows of one person who "feels that it is expected of 
her to buy tickets." Another employee stated that "there was 
only one colleague . . . who seemed to feel some pressure." 
Another respondent said that she "knows of at least one person 
who may have felt pressure to make donations." Another employee 
"believes that some colleagues did feel pressure to make 
donations," but identified only one such employee who he thought 

47 



had declined to contribute. Another employee thought it was 
"possible" that colleagues may have felt pressure to make a 
contribution . 

Professor de la Torre has provided to Pashman Stein his 
expert opinion regarding the confidence level and margin of 
error that are applicable to the responses to the random 
employee interviews. Accordingly, concerning the eight-tenths 
of one percent (.8%) of respondents who stated that they felt 
pressure to donate to campaigns, Professor de la Torre states 
that we have a 95% confidence level that the margin of error in 
the estimate of . 8% who felt pressure to donate is 1.5%. Stated 
differently, we are 95% confident that, based on the margin of 
error, the percentage of employees who may have felt pressure to 
donate ranges from a low that is a percentage very close to zero 
to no more than 2.3%. 

According to Professor de la Torre, at a 95% confidence 
level, margins of error of less than 5% also can be found for 
the following questions. Those questions, the estimated 
percentage, and the corresponding margin of error are set forth 
below. 6 



6 A copy of Professor de la Torre's report to Pashman Stein, as well as his 
curriculum vitae, is attached as Exhibit F to this Report. 



48 



QUESTION 


ESIMATE 


MARGIN OF ERROR 


Felt Pressure to Donate 


.8% 


1.0% 


Knows of others pressured to 
donate 


5.4% 


4.0% 


Felt Pressure to Volunteer 


.8% 


1.0% 


Knows of others pressured to 
volunteer 


.8% 


2.0% 


Solicited by Mail 


94.9% 


4.0% 



Anecdotally, other employee responses to the interviews 
were informative. Twenty-nine respondents indicated that they 
attended campaign fundraisers because they regarded the 
fundraisers primarily as social events that typically included 
dining, dancing and celebrating with colleagues. Of the 43 
employees who acknowledged volunteering to work on campaigns, 29 
employees said that they elected to volunteer not because they 
were asked but because they wanted to participate, and ten 
employees specifically stated that they participated because 
they were supportive of the policies of the Board and/or the 
Superintendent. A significant number of employees indicated 
that their career paths as Elizabeth School System employees 
were unaffected by the fact that they neither donated to nor 
volunteered to assist in School Board campaigns. 

The compelling conclusion to be derived from the random 
interviews of 131 Elizabeth School Board employees is that there 
is no pervasive pattern of pressure on employees to donate to or 
volunteer for School Board campaigns. The interview results 
overwhelmingly contradict the allegations in the Star Ledger 



stories, and cast grave doubt on the credibility of the Star 
Ledger's sources. 



I 
I 

W 



50 



IV 



NEPOTISM 

The same series of Star Ledger articles alleges that the 
employment and salaries of family members of current and former 
Board members are improper, if not illegal. 

The May 22, 2011 article states that 

[a] t least 20 family members of current and 
former board members work for the Elizabeth 
school system, according to payroll records 
and financial disclosure forms — so many 
that the board in the past has lacked a 
quorum to vote on teachers ' contracts 
because of the extensive conflicts of 
interest, resolutions show. They include 
brothers , sisters , brothers-in-law, mothers- 
in-law, cousins , wives, children and the 
spouses of children — who together are paid 
more than $1 million in salaries . 

Then, a June 9, 2011 editorial added the following: 

Nepotism is rampant: at least 20 District 
employees are relatives of past or present 
Board members. The U.S. or State Attorney 
General's office should be all over this 
Board. 

Contrary to what the article and editorial would have 
readers believe, a review of State statutes and regulations, 
Board policy, and a State investigation reveals that the Board's 
hiring and payment of Board members ' relatives never violated 
state law or regulations, were consistent with Board policy and 
never caused improper votes on collective bargaining agreements . 
Eight of the fifteen employees related to current Board members 



51 



were hired before their relatives joined the Board. The 
Ledger's editorial demand for prosecution is uninformed and 
irresponsible . 

1. Nepotism Regulation and Policy 

Prior to the State ' s adoption in 2008 of regulations 
governing nepotism by school boards, there was no prohibition 
against hiring relatives of Board members. Rather, the 
appointment, transfer and removal of Board employees, and 
renewal of their contracts were governed by N. J.S.A. § 18A: 27- 
4.1. The relevant portions of that statute provided that such 
actions required the recommendation of the chief school 
administrator and a recorded roll call majority vote of the ful 
membership of the Board. 

On July 2 008, the State Department of Education adopted a 
regulation, N. J. A.C. §6A:23A-6.2, requiring all school 
districts, as a condition of receiving State aid, to adopt a 
nepotism policy on or before October 1, 2008, that would 
prohibit any relative of a school board member from being 
employed by that school District. The regulation defined 
relative to include an individual's spouse or the individual's 
or spouse's parent, child, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, 
grandparent, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, 
stepparent, stepchild, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother or 
half sister, whether the relative is related to the individual 

52 



or the individual's spouse by blood, marriage or adoption, as 
well as a "civil union partner pursuant to N. J. S . A. 37:1-33, 
[and] domestic partner as defined in N. J . S . A. 2 6 : 8A-3 . " 

The regulation also set forth three limitations on the 
nepotism prohibition: (a) a person employed on the effective 
date of the policy or the date a relative becomes a board member 
is not prohibited from continuing to be employed or promoted in 
the district; (b) a district may employ a relative of a board 
member with the approval of the County superintendent of 
schools ; and (c) a district may exclude per diem substitutes and 
student employees from the nepotism policy. 

The regulation required Districts to prohibit the chief 
school administrator from recommending any board member's 
relative to the school board unless the person is subject to one 
of the first two limitations above . 

Finally, the Regulation required a provision prohibiting a 
board member who has a relative who is a member of the 
bargaining unit from discussing or voting on the proposed 
collective bargaining agreement with that unit, or from 
participating in negotiations, including being a member of the 
negotiating team. It also required a provision prohibiting a 
board member who has an immediate family member who is a member 
of the same Statewide union in another district from 



53 



participating in negotiations prior to the board's attainment of 
a tentative memorandum of agreement with the unit. 
2. The Board's Nepotism Policy 

Although the Board was not required to establish a suitable 
nepotism policy until October 2008, it passed its own resolution 
adopting a policy on March 16, 2006. Among the relevant 
provisions, the Board's original policy prohibited a board 
member from discussing or voting on appointment of a relative. 
It also required prohibitions regarding bargaining units similar 
to those described in the regulation, except that where a board 
member has an immediate family member who is out of district but 
in the same Statewide union, it included a provision allowing a 
board member to vote on the collective bargaining agreement 
subject to the doctrine of necessity once the tentative 
memorandum of agreement is established. 

In March 2007, the policy was amended to prohibit, among 
other things, the employment of any relative of a board member, 
except that it did not require the discharge of someone 
regularly employed by the board prior to the relationship, the 
adoption of the policy, or the board member's election or 
appointment . 

Subsequent revisions in March 2008, August 2008, June 2009, 
and June 2010 conformed the definitions of "relative" and 
"immediate family member" to the regulatory language and/or 

54 



excluded per diem substitutes and student employees from the 
nepotism policy. 

3. No Violation of Regulation or Policy 
A close examination of District records shows that no 
employment of a Board member's relative violates State nepotism 
regulations or the Board's nepotism policy. The reason is 
three- fold: (1) of the employees who are related to a current 
Board member, eight out of fifteen were hired before the member 
was appointed or elected to the Board ; (2) of the seven 
relatives who were hired after the member was appointed or 
elected to the Board, five were hired before the policy was 
amended in March 2007 to prohibit employment of Board members' 
relatives; and (3), in the case of the two relatives hired after 
the member was appointed or elected to the Board and after March 
2006, the hiring of those employees was not prohibited by the 
terms of the policy then in effect. Furthermore, since adoption 
of the Board's nepotism policy, Board members have, without 
exception, abstained from voting on a relative's employment, 
a. Relatives of Current Board Members 
i . Raul J . Burgos 
The employment of KAREEM BURGOS (Raul's spouse) as a child 
development associate in early education does not violate the 
nepotism policy because she was first hired on September 1, 



55 



2001 , (a) before the policy was required or adopted, and (b) 
before Raul was appointed to the Board on November 21, 2002. 

The employment of MARINA BURGOS (Raul's mother) as a former 
teacher of world language (now retired) did not violate the 
nepotism policy because she was first hired on October 28, 2002, 
(a) before the policy was required or adopted, and (b) before 
Raul was appointed to the Board on November 21, 2 002. 

The employment of CLAUDIA FERREIRA (Raul's sister) as a 
child development associate in early education does not violate 
the nepotism policy because she was first appointed on July 20, 
2004, before the policy was required or adopted. 

The employment of DANIEL FERREIRA (Raul's brother-in-law) 
as a child development associate in early education does not 
violate the nepotism policy because he was first appointed on 
August 24, 2004, before the policy was required or adopted. 

The employment of PRISCILA GOMEZ (Raul's sister) as a child 
development associate does not violate the nepotism policy 
because she was first hired as a permanent substitute teacher on 
February 23, 2004 and her first regular appointment as a child 
development associate was on August 9, 2004, and both occurred 
before the policy was required or adopted. 

The former employment of MICHELLE BURGOS (Raul's daughter) 
in the student summer maintenance program did not violate the 

7 In analyzing allegations of nepotism, this Report considered the date of 
appointment and date of hire, and uses the earlier of the two. 

56 



nepotism policy because she was appointed on June 29, 2006, 
before the policy was required to be in effect. Moreover, the 
policy in effect when she was appointed did not preclude her 
appointment . 

ii . Armando DaSilva 

The employment of ANA DASILVA (Armando's spouse) as a 
computer data entry associate does not violate the nepotism 
policy because she was first appointed as secretary on October 
19, 2000, (a) before the policy was required or adopted, and (b) 
before Armando was appointed to the Board on November 21, 2002. 

The employment of ROSA J. MARTINS (Armando's mother-in-law) 
as a custodian does not violate the nepotism policy because she 
was appointed on June 28, 2 005 before the policy was required or 
adopted. 

iii . John F. Donoso 

The employment of MARIE DONOSO (John's cousin) as a 
substitute teacher does not violate the nepotism policy because 
cousins are excluded from the definition of a "relative" under 
the policy. 

iv . Fernando E. Nazco 

The employment of OLGA FAJARDO (Fernando' s mother-in-law) 
as an attendance liaison does not violate the nepotism policy 
because she was first hired on September 23, 1999, before the 
policy was required or adopted. 

57 



The employment of MINERVA SPAGNUOLO ( Fernando 's sister-in- 
law) as a teacher-instructional coach does not violate the 
nepotism policy because she was first appointed as a 
prekindergarten assistant on July 19, 2001, (a) before the 
policy was required or adopted, and (b) before Fernando was 
appointed to the Board on July 19, 2007. 

v. Paul M, Perreira 

The employment of MARVEL IS PERREIRA (Paul's spouse) as a 
teacher-instructional coach does not violate the nepotism policy 
because she was first appointed as a permanent substitute 
teacher on September 21, 2002, and her first regular appointment 
was as a fifth grade teacher on September 18, 2004, and both 
occurred (a) before the policy was required or adopted, and (b) 
before Paul Perreira was appointed to the Board on June 10, 
2010. 

The employment of MERIDA BARQUIN (aunt of Paul's spouse) as 
a bilingual kindergarten assistant does not violate the nepotism 
policy because she was first hired as a classroom assistant on 
March 22, 1999, (a) before the policy was required or adopted, 
and (b) before Paul Perreira was appointed to the Board on June 
10, 2010. 

The employment of MARIA E. SORI (aunt of Paul's spouse) as 
a substitute lunch aide does not violate the nepotism policy 
because (a) she was first hired in February 2002, before the 

58 



policy was required or adopted, (b) she was re-appointed on 
April 15, 2 010, before Paul Perreira was appointed to the Board 
on June 10, 2010, and (c) per diem substitutes are excluded from 
the policy. 

vi . Carlos M. Trujillo 

The employment of DANAY BARCELO (Carlos' cousin) as a child 
development associate does not violate the nepotism policy 
because (a) he was appointed on September 5, 2006, before Carlos 
Trujillo was elected to the Board in April 2007, and (b) cousins 
are excluded from the definition of a "relative" under the 
policy. 

vii . Elcy Castillo-Ospina, Francisco Gonzalez and 
Marie L. Munn 

Elcy Castillo-Ospina, Francisco Gonzalez and Marie L . Munn 
do not have any relatives who are current or former employees of 
the Board. 

b. Relatives of Former Members Who Sat on the Board 
between 2009 and 2011 

The Star Ledger article also alleges that the employment of 

relatives of former Board members is improper, with particular 

emphasis on relatives of Rafael J. Fajardo. Therefore, 

examination of the nepotism issue includes employees of former 

members who sat on the Board over the past few years, including 

relatives of Mr. Fajardo. 



59 



i . Rafael J. Fajardo 

The employment of ROSA FAJARDO (Rafael's spouse) as a child 
development associate does not violate the nepotism policy 
because she was first hired as a prekindergarten assistant on 
October 14, 2004, before the policy was required or adopted. 

The employment of MARLENE FAJARDO (Rafael's daughter) as a 
child development associate does not violate the nepotism policy 
because she was hired on July 19, 2001, before the policy was 
required or adopted. 

The employment of MELISSA KULICK (Rafael's daughter) as a 
teacher-ESL-in-class support does not violate the nepotism 
policy because she was first hired as a teacher-ESL-self 
contained on November 23, 1998, before the policy was required 
or adopted. 

The employment of OLGA FAJARDO (Rafael's sister) as an 
attendance liaison does not violate the nepotism policy because, 
as noted earlier in connection with Fernando Nazco, she was 
first hired on September 23, 1999, before the policy was 
required or adopted. 

The employment of ELSA FAJARDO (Rafael's sister) as a 
general worker does not violate the nepotism policy because she 
was first appointed on October 20, 2005, before the policy was 
required or adopted. 



60 



The employment of ERIC KULICK (Rafael's son-in-law) as a 
web developer did not violate the nepotism policy because he was 
first hired as a computer technician on September 27, 1999, 
almost three years prior to his marriage to Mr. Fajardo's 
daughter, Melissa Fa j ardo , on July 28 , 2002 

ii . Eddie Branquinho and Jeremiah L, Grace 

Eddie Branquinho and Jeremiah L . Grace do not have any 
relatives who are current or former employees of the Board. 

4 . Abstentions 

Furthermore, Board Meeting Minutes show that when the 
relative of a Board member was initially appointed to a position 
in the District after the member joined the Board and was 
related to the member at that time, that member uniformly 
abstained from voting on the appointment except in the following 
six instances, each of which predated adoption of the nepotism 
regulation and adoption of the Board's nepotism policy: 

• MARINA BURGOS' appointment on November 21, 2 002 

• PRISCILA GOMEZ'S appointment on March 18, 2004 8 

• CLAUDIA FERREIRA's appointment on July 20, 2 004 9 

• DANIEL FERREIRA's appointment on August 24, 2 004 10 

8 Raul Burgos' vote was changed to "abstain" on April 10, 2006 because at the 
time of the initial vote he had not been aware that Priscila was listed among 
the people to be appointed. 

9 Raul Burgos' vote was changed to "abstain" on April 10, 2006 because at the 
time of the initial vote he had not been aware that Claudia was listed among 
the people to be appointed. 

61 



• OLGA FAJARDO ' s appointment on October 14, 1999 

• MARLENE FAJARDO ' s appointment on July 19, 2001 

5 . Employees Were Qualified 

In addition, a review of District files and State 
Department of Education records reveals that, at the time these 
Board members' relatives were first appointed or promoted to new 
positions with the District, they held all of the mandatory 
degrees, certifications, and/ or educational credentials required 
by the Board and were fully qualified for the jobs. 

6 . Salaries of Relatives of Board Members 

Al though the Star Ledger states that employees who are 
related to Board members "together are paid more than $1 million 
in salaries" 12 and implies that such employees receive 
preferential treatment in terms of pay, the fact is that all 
salaries are covered by collective bargaining agreements . As a 
result, employees' salaries, pay increases, and stipends follow 
predetermined guidelines that apply to all coworkers who have 
the same job, the same degrees and credentials, and the same 
level of seniority. The current salaries paid to relatives of 
Board members are listed below: 

10 Raul Burgos' vote was changed to "abstain" on April 10, 2006 because at the 
time of the initial vote he had not been aware that Daniel was listed among 
the people to be appointed. 

^Rafael Fajardo's vote was changed to "abstain" on April 10, 2006 because at 
the time of the initial vote he had not been aware that Olga was listed among 
the people to be appointed. 

12 The salaries of all current employees related to Board members actually 
total $736,896.00. 



62 





SALARY 


Marina Burgos* 


$72,490.00 


C 1 ciULCL-l- £L jE*'* €S ~£T IT C2 1 If ell. 


$35,773.00 


Daniel Ferreira 


$35,773 .00 


Priscila Gomez 


$33,360.00 


Michelle Burgos* 


$5.15 per hour 


Ana DaSilva 


$53,748.00 


Rosa J. Martins 


$52,532.00 


Marie Donoso 


$61,676.00 


Rosa Fajardo 


$35,773.00 


Marlene Fajardo 


$35,773.00 


Jyf€3 1 jL S S Si ICXJl 1 1 


$54,789.00 


Olga Fajardo 


$45,822.00 


Elsa Fajardo 


$12,106.00 


Eric Kulick 


$66, 611 . 00 


Minerva Spagnuolo 


$70, 864. 00 


Marvelis Perreira 


$67,325.00 


Merida Barquin 


$40,480.00 


Maria E. Sori 


$7.25 per hour 


Danay Bar eel o 


$34,491.00 



*No longer employed by the District. 



7 . Department of Education Investigation 

A State investigation in response to an anonymous complaint 
filed with the New Jersey Department of Education provides 
confirmation that, as of January 2006, the Board's actions had 
not resulted in any improper promotion practices based on 
nepotism. On May 19, 2005, the New Jersey Department of 
Education's Office of Compliance Investigation (OCI) received 
the referral of an anonymous complaint alleging in relevant part 
that long-term employees were passed over because the positions 
were given to friends and family of board members and staff. In 
its January 2 006 report, OCI investigators found that "there is 



63 



no basis to the charge that staff members were promoted due to 
nepotism. " 

8 . Doctrine of Necessity 

By stating that the Board had lacked a quorum to vote on 
teachers' contracts because of Board member disqualifications, 
the Star Ledger implies that the Board acted improperly. That 
implication is incorrect. 

When a quorum of Board members have disqualifications in a 
particular matter that would otherwise prevent the Board from 
acting, they may invoke what is known as the "doctrine of 
necessity" in order to vote despite the disqualification . The 
doctrine is firmly established in New Jersey decisional law, and 
its application to the school board context has been refined in 
a series of decisions and advisory opinions of the School Ethics 
Commission (Commission) . 13 

On February 25, 2003, the Commission adopted a resolution 
clarifying how school boards and charter schools must invoke the 
"doctrine of necessity" when a quorum of the board has 
disqualifications that prevent the board from acting on a matter 
required to be voted upon, such as a collective bargaining 
agreement. The resolution requires school boards that must 

13 Downs v. Mayor and Council of South Amboy , 116 N.J.L. 511, 515 (E. & A. 
1936} ; Pyatt v Mayor and Council of Borough of Dunellen in Middlesex County , 
9 N.J. 548; 89 A. 2d 1, 4 (1952}; Griggs v. Princeton Borough , 33 N.J. 207, 
220-21 (I960}; Fanwood v. Rocco ,33 N.J. 404, 417 (1960); In the Matter of 
Edward DeYoung , SEC Decision C07-96; SEC Advisory Opinions A03-98 and A13-02. 

64 



invoke the doctrine to "adopt a resolution setting forth that 

they are invoking the Doctrine, the reason for doing so and the 

specific nature of the conflicts of interest." They must also 

"read the resolution at a regularly scheduled public meeting, 

post it where it posts public notices for 30 days and provide 

the Commission with a copy." 

As noted above, the Commission specifically anticipated 

that disqualifications might obstruct a board from acting on a 

matter required to be voted upon, such as a collective 

bargaining agreement, and adopted a methodology for resolving 

such issues. Board records show that on the four occasions that 

the Board has faced disqualifications that would otherwise 

prevent it from achieving a quorum with regard to a matter that 

required a vote, it properly adopted a resolution meeting all of 

the Commission requirements. 14 Consequently, neither the 

existence of Board members' disqualifications nor their method 

of resolving them is untoward, unexpected, or improper. 

9 . Olga Fajardo's Employment Complies with Board and 
State Policy 

Finally, the Star Ledger suggests that the Board's 
employment of former Board President Rafael Fajardo's sister as 
a community attendance liaison for the preschool program is 
improper because the New Jersey Department of Education did not 

"Board resolutions dated March 16, 2006, April 10, 2006, November 20, 2008, 
and October 13, 2011. 

65 



authorize funding for the position. Although the New Jersey 
Department of Education decided not to fund the position because 
the preschool program was "voluntary, " its decision does not 
suggest that her continued employment and compensation are 
misguided or wrongful. The District is free to consider 
evidence that encouraging preschool attendance is vital to the 
program's success and there is nothing improper about its 
decision to continue her employment if the Board pays her 
salary. Currently, Olga Fajardo serves as a community 
attendance liaison for Schools #12, 14 and 27 , which serve only 
grades K-8 and not pre-school , Pre-K Schools #50 , 51 and 52 , and 
also is the responsible attendance liaison for the Pre-School 
special needs population. 
10 . Conclusion 

The evidence demonstrates that the Board's employment of 
members' relatives as described above does not violate the 
Department of Education regulation or the Board's nepotism 
policy. 

It is also noteworthy that only 12 of those employees were 
hired or appointed after their respective relatives became a 
member of the Board. Given that the total number of employees 
in the District as of September 26, 2011 was 3825, the 12 
individuals represent only 0.31 percent of all District 
employees . 

66 



As this Report explains, until 2 008 Department of Education 
regulations did not prohibit school districts from hiring 
qualified relatives of school board members. Prior law and 
regulations apparently reflected the Legislature's and the 
Department's acknowledgement that in urban communities the 
school system historically was a vital source of employment for 
city residents. Presumably, Elizabeth's past practice of 
allowing qualified relatives of Board members to be hired is 
comparable to that of other New Jersey cities, a comparison not 
attempted by the Ledger articles . The change in the law clearly 
was salutary and in the public interest . But the harsh 
indictment of a lawful past practice, without a context 
reflecting the experience in other urban communities, is skewed 
and unjustified. 



67 



V 

THE STAR LEDGER SOURCES 

"Accuracy entails honesty in sourcing. Our reputation for that 
accuracy, and for freedom from bias, rests on the credibility of 
our sources." Reuters, Handbook of Journalism 

This independent investigation was commissioned by the 
Board as a consequence of the May 22, 2011 lead Sunday Star 
Ledger article, authored by staff writer Ted Sherman, and an 
editorial published the next day. In the May 22 article, Mr. 
Sherman represents that the facts on which his reporting is 
based came from lawsuits, internal documents and interviews. It 
appears from a review of the article that internal documents 
primarily were used to support allegations of nepotism and to 
determine the amount of money raised by the Board and 
contributed by others. The allegation that the Board has 
inappropriately pressured Board employees to contribute to 
elections appears to be supported almost entirely by interviews 
with identified sources and lawsuits filed by current and former 
Board employees. Seven sources are identified by name. 

The May 23 editorial, based entirely on Mr. Sherman's 
investigation and May 22 article, was unsparing in its depiction 
of the Board, ratcheting up the rhetoric considerably and 
calling for the United States Attorney's Office and the Attorney 
General's Office to initiate criminal investigations. That 



68 



€5c1jL t O XT -L. 9t 1 i €2X1 1~ 1 *t 1 G»cL 3NJC2 Ci5Cl.CiCL * C- XT X.ITH XI ci 1 I IX/VC^S? t» 1 C£SL "t 1 OIX 1 XX 

Elizabeth", offered the following portrayal of the Board: 

The foul odor in Elizabeth these days cannot 
be blamed on oil refineries along the 
Turnpike. It is from the ethical rot created 
by the city's Board of Education. 

Board members in Elizabeth routinely solicit 
political donations from teachers and other 
school employees. They are using the 
district's 4,000 employees as their personal 
slush funds, building a heavy-handed 
political machine that is based on 
intimidation . 

That is sleazy at a minimum. It becomes 
criminal if employees are coerced into 
giving money by the threat of punishment or 
the promise of reward. And that is exactly 
what employees of the district say is 
happening, as staff writer Ted Sherman 
reported in The Sunday Star-Ledger. 

Several lawsuits making that charge have 
been quietly settled, with a convenient gag 
order attached. And several authoritative 
sources , including a former superintendent 
and a former principal, say that is 
precisely how the board does its business . 

"If you don't buy tickets, you are not 
promoted to jobs you may want," said Frank 
Cuesta, the former principal, now a city 
councilman. "You are basically shut out of 
the system, no matter how competent you 
are . " 

These are serious charges that merit a 
criminal investigation by U.S. Attorney Paul 
Fishman, or Attorney General Paula Dow, or 
both offices working in tandem. 

Their challenge will be to prove the 
coercion. A wink and nod are not enough. 
Investigators need to explicitly link the 



69 



district's treatment of an employee with his 
or her response to the request for money. 

It will come as no surprise if they find 
that smoking gun. Because judging by what we 
know of this board, its members have lost 
their ethical bearings entirely. The signs 
of this are familiar to anyone who follows 
New Jersey politics. 

A copy of The Star Ledger May 23, 2011 editorial is 
attached as Exhibit G to this Report. 

The Star Ledger news story and editorial, knowingly or 
unknowingly, failed to disclose that each of the identified 
sources relied on in the story was compromised by bias , either 
because they have documented adversarial relationships with the 
Board or are politically allied with Senator Lesniak and Mayor 
Bo 11 wage . It is unclear whether the May 22 Article relied on 
anonymous sources , but there was no attempt to provide readers 
with background information about any such sources, to the 
extent they were used. The failure of The Star Ledger to 
document the bias of its sources, coupled with its failure to 
provide political and educational context, resulted in a 
presentation that was outrageously unfair, inaccurate and 
inconsistent with recognized principles of responsible 
journalism. 

1. Ethical Guidelines for Journalists 

There is not one mandatory Ethics Code or Code of Conduct 
for journalists. There are, however, certain published 

70 



standards that serve as guidelines for newspapers and 

J3 IT O f €5 £ £5 jL OI~lct 1 S ~L XI t t*l€i £ 1 €i 1 OL • 

In 1997, the Committee of Concerned Journalists (CCJ) , 
comprised of reporters, editors, publishers, owners and 
academics, released a Statement of Shared Purpose. That 
Statement came " [a] f ter four years of research, including 20 
public forums around the country, a reading of journalism 
history, a national survey of journalists, and more." See 
http : //www, journalism.org/resources/principles . 

The Statement of Shared Purpose, in its introduction, 
states that " [ t ] he central purpose of journalism is to provide 
citizens with accurate and reliable information they need to 
function in a free society." The Statement identified nine 
"Core Principles" for journalists, including that "Journalism' 
first obligation is to the truth" (principle 1) and that "its 
essence is a discipline of verification" (principle 3). 

The obligation of journalists to speak truthfully, as 
defined in the first principle, "is a process that begins with 
the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts. 
The journalist must give a "fair and reliable account" of his 
her investigation and "should be as transparent as possible 
about sources and methods so audiences can make their own 
assessment of the information." 



71 



The third principle relies on journalists to verify 
information. It calls for "a transparent approach to evidence- 
precisely so that personal and cultural biases would not 
undermine the accuracy of their work . . . Seeking out multiple 
witnesses, disclosing as much as possible about sources, or 
asking various sides for comment, all signal such standards. 
This discipline of verification is what separates journalism 
from other modes of communication. " 

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) , whose 
mission it is to protect and improve journalism, also publishes 
a Code of Ethics, which is "voluntarily embraced by thousands of 
journalists . . . and is widely used in newsrooms and classrooms 
as a guide for ethical behavior . " See http: //www. spj .org/ 
ethicscode . asp . The SPJ Code of Ethics was adopted by the 1996 
SPJ National Convention after months of study and debate among 
the Society's members. The Code provides that journalists must 
"[a]lways question sources' motives before promising anonymity" 
and "identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled 
to as much information as possible on sources' reliability." 

The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) publishes 
a Statement of Principles that was originally adopted in 1922 as 
the "Cannons of Journalism" and later revised in 1975 and re- 
named the Statement of Principles. See http : / /asne . org/kiosk/ 
archive/principl . htm . 

72 



ARTICLE IV provides: "Truth and Accuracy. Good faith with 
the reader is the foundation of good journalism. Every effort 
must be made to assure that the news content is accurate, free 
from bias and in context, and that all sides are presented 
fairly." The ASNE states that the principles "are intended to 
preserve, protect and strengthen the bond of trust and respect 
between American journalists and the American people". 

Many newspapers and journals have their own Code of Ethics. 
Although I have not located the specific code followed by Star 
Ledger reporters, it presumably is similar to those cited in 
this Report. 

Reuters publishes a handbook for journalists. See 
http : / /handbook. reuters . com/extensions /docs /pdf/handbookofjourna 
lism.pdf ) . The preamble to the Code states that " [ a ] s 
journalists ... we have additional responsibilities if we are 
to fulfill the highest aspirations of our profession - to search 
for and report the truth, fairly, honestly and unfailingly." On 
sourcing, the Reuters guideline provide: 

• "Accuracy entails honesty in sourcing. Our 
reputation for that accuracy, and for 
freedom from bias, rests on the credibility 
of our sources . " 

• "Use named sources wherever possible because 
they are responsible for the information 
they provide, even though we remain liable 
for accuracy, balance and legal dangers." 



73 



The Associated Press also publishes standards and practices 
for its journalists to follow. See http : / /www. ap , org/ 
newsvalues / index . html . The AP prides itself on "bringing truth 
to the world" and goes to "great lengths, overcome [s] great 
obstacles - and, too often, ma [k] e great and horrific sacrifices 
- to ensure that the news [is] reported quickly, accurately and 
honestly." In transmitting news with the highest standards of 
integrity, the AP "abhor [s] inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or 
distortions . " 

The Record, located in Hackensack, New Jersey, also 
acknowledges that "its staff members should perform their jobs 
within the prescribed ethical guidelines outlined in [a] code." 
The Code provides that the use of material attributed to an 
anonymous source "can harm the credibility of the paper." The 
Record, therefore, strongly encourages reporters to persuade 
their sources to speak for attribution." But if the source, for 
whatever reason, cannot be named, the Record "should tell 
[their] readers as much as possible about them, their position, 
political party, town, or age, and why they insist on 
anonymity." It may not always be possible to disclose source 
information, but the decision of whether to grant anonymity 
should take into account, among other things, ,% [w]hether the 
source has personal biases which color his or her comments on an 
issue, and which the reader ought to know." 

74 



While there is not one universal code of journalism ethics, 
the basic core principles of responsibility, truth and accuracy, 
independence, impartiality, disclosure of sources, disclosure of 
bias and verification of information seem to be at the heart of 
all journalist codes. It is with those principles in mind that 
I discuss the sources identified by The Star Ledger in its 
reporting of political pressure allegedly imposed by the Board 
on employees within the district. 

2 . The Sources 

The Star Ledger's May 22, 2011 article identified only the 
following seven sources: Frank Cuesta, Louis Alt, Ronald 
Matlosz, Thomas Dunn, Jr., Ronald Davidson, Patti Gallante and 
Eddie Branquinho . 

a. Frank Cuesta 

Frank Cuesta is a recently retired Elizabeth Board of 
Education Principal and a long-standing Elizabeth City 
Councilman. He is the only source cited in both the May 22 
article and May 23 editorial, and that editorial characterizes 
him as an authoritative source . 

He was identified in both the news story and the editorial 
as a former principal and present Councilman. Both the article 
and editorial quoted him as saying: "If you don't buy tickets, 
you are not promoted to jobs you may want. You are basically 
shut out of the system, no matter how competent you are." Not a 

75 



word was said about either Mr. Cuesta's long and public alliance 
with Senator Lesniak and Mayor Bo 11 wage or his equally long and 
public adversarial relationship with the Board. 

Elizabeth's City government is presided over by Mayor 
Bollwage and nine council members, six of whom run from wards 
and three of whom are "at large." Mr. Cuesta has been an at- 
large councilman since 2000, and has been publicly aligned with 
Mayor Bollwage since that time. 

Mr . Cuesta was President of the City Council in December 
2005 and supported Ordinance 3774 , which was adopted on December 
27 and authorized the below-market sale of the New Jersey 
Transit Property to Trumbull Street Business Center, an LLC 
owned by long time Bollwage supporter Luis Rodriguez. As noted 
earlier in this Report, that Ordinance was the subject of bitter 
litigation filed by the Board against the City Council , which in 
turn, as the Star Ledger then observed, led Senator Lesniak to 
retaliate against the Board by seeking an audit of Board 
finances and a monitor to oversee the District's spending. 

On January 25, 2006, less than one month after Mr. Cuesta 
presided over the City Council vote to adopt Ordinance 3774, 
Senator Lesniak and Mayor Bollwage hosted a fundraiser in honor 
of Mr. Cuesta and his "successful year as President of the 
Elizabeth City Council." Luis Rodriguez was listed as Chairman 



76 



of the Host Committee. A copy of an invitation to that 
fundraiser is attached as Exhibit H to this Report. 

Similarly, on February 5, 2009, Senator Lesniak and Mayor 
Bo 11 wage again hosted a fundraiser in honor of "Councilman Frank 
J. Cuesta" . A copy of an invitation to that fundraiser is 
attached as Exhibit I to this Report. 

Recently, Mr. Cuesta spoke at a public meeting organized by 
Education Watchdogs, an organization subsidized in part by 
Senator Lesniak, whose essential purpose appears to be to oppose 
the Elizabeth Board of Education . At that meeting Mr . Cuesta 
publicly introduced Senator Lesniak to those in attendance , 
after which Senator Lesniak publicly referred to Mr. Cuesta as 
the "next Sup er i n t enden t " of the Elizabeth School System. 

Not only has Mr. Cuesta been aligned with Mayor Bollwage 
and Senator Lesniak for many years but, along with Ronald 
Matlosz and Louis Alt, two of the other seven identified 
sources, he has had an adversarial relationship with the Board 
dating back at least to 2007. 

In September 2007, Mr. Cuesta mass-mailed a letter to 
students and parents alleging that he was transferred and 
suffered a reduction in salary simply because he endorsed three 
candidates who ran and lost to the "Continue the Progress" slate 



77 



in the April 2007 Board of Education election. 15 A copy of the 
September 11, 2007 letter is attached to this Report as Exhibit 
J. 

b/c. Louis Alt; Ronald Matlosz 

Louis Alt and Ronald Matlosz are recently retired Elizabeth 
Board of Education Vice Principals . They both have long- 
standing adversarial relationships with the Board. 

In November 2007, three and one-half years before the 
Ledger article was published, Mr. Cuesta, Mr. Alt and Mr. 
Matlosz , along with Vito Nufrio and James Feehan filed unfair 
labor charges against the Board. More precisely, the charges 
were brought by the Elizabeth Administrative and Supervisory 
Council (EASC) , which is the Union that then represented 
Principals, Vice Principals and Supervisors. At the time the 
charges were filed, Nufrio was the president of the EASC, 
Matlosz was the vice president, Feehan was the treasurer and 
Cuesta and Alt were described as being members and "active" in 
the association. 

The statement of charges describes the unfair labor 
practice charge in the following manner: 

15 According to authoritative sources at the Board of Education, Mr. Cuesta 
was transferred to the position of Principal of Alexander Hamilton Middle 
School because of an administrative belief that Alexander Hamilton would 
benefit from stronger leadership. Mr. Cuesta's base salary was not reduced. 
But because his new position, unlike his former position, involved regular 
school hours rather than an extended day schedule, his aggregate annual 
compensation was reduced by $592 to reflect the shorter working day in his 
new position. 

78 



• On or about April 17, 2007, there was a statewide 
election for school board members, including respondent, 
Elizabeth Board of Education. 

• Prior to the election, the EASC, as an 
association, supported candidates for the Board of Education, 
who were not incumbents . 

• Vito Nufrio, Ronald Matlosz and James Feehan, as 
officers in the association, were active in the charging party's 
support for non- incumbent candidates. Francisco Cuesta and 
Louis Alt were also active in the charging party's support for 
the non-incumbent candidates. 

• The incumbent candidates, not supported by the 
EASC, were reelected in the April, 2007 school board election. 

• After the election, unit members were informed 
the incumbents and the superintendent of schools intended to 
retaliate against the EASC for the position it took in the 
school board election. 

• At its meeting on June 28, 2007, respondent acted 
to transfer Vito Nufrio, Ronald Matlosz, James Feehan and 
Francisco Cuesta. At the same meeting, Louis Alt was removed 
from his position of vice principal and returned to his former 
position of supervisor. Respondent also acted to withhold the 
salary increments of Vito Nufrio, Ronald Matlosz and James 
Feehan. The transfers are currently before the Commission as 
contested transfer matters and the increment withholdings have 
been presented as grievances and an arbitrator has been 
assigned. 

• Respondent's actions to withhold the salary 
increments and the transfers of the above named unit members is 
retaliatory and constitutes anti-union animus. Respondent's 
actions constitute an unfair labor practice. 

The remedy sought included the restoration of salary 

increments only to Nufrio, Matlosz and Feehan; reversals of the 



79 



transfers of Nufrio, Matlosz, Feehan and Cuesta; and the 
reassignment of Alt as a vice/assistant principal. 16 

The EASC withdrew these Unfair Labor Charges in April 2010. 
The contested transfer and increment-withholding grievances 
referred to in the body of the Unfair Labor Charges likewise 
were withdrawn. Notably, in July 2011, Phillip Linder , Esq., 
acting on behalf of both Mr. Matlosz and Mr. Alt, filed separate 
but virtually identical lawsuits against the Board asserting 
discrimination and retaliation claims, 
d. Thomas Dunn, Jr. 

Thomas Dunn, Jr. was the Superintendent of the Elizabeth 
School System in the late 1980 ' s through the early 1990 ' s and 
then again from 1996 until 2005, when he was replaced by Pablo 
Muhoz. He is referred to in both the May 22 article and the May 
23 editorial as a former Superintendent. In the editorial, he 
also is referred to, although not by name, as an "authoritative 
source" . 

While the May 22 article asserts that Mr. Dunn was "forced 
out" in 2 005 there is no attempt to describe for the reader the 
circumstances surrounding Mr. Dunn's ouster by the Board and 
whether it created animosity such that Mr. Dunn might have a 
personal bias that could color his comments . 

16 The statement of charges and remedy demand transposed Mr. Alt's prior and 
new positions. His prior position was Supervisor of Grants; his new position 
was Vice Principal of Holmes Middle School. Obviously, he sought to be 
reassigned as Supervisor of Grants. 

80 



My investigation reveals that Mr. Dunn's separation from 
the Board was far from amicable. Although he was not fired, he 
was informed by the Board in 2 005 that he did not have the 
support of the Board and that therefore his contract would not 
be renewed. At the time, he communicated his view that Mr. 
Fajardo was to blame for his non-renewal and he made no secret 
of his bitterness toward his successor, Pablo Munoz . To this 
day, he does not speak to Mr. Munoz . 
e . Ronald Davidson 

Ronald Davidson is a recently retired Elizabeth Board of 
Education Vice Principal. He also has a long-standing 
adversarial relationship with the Board. 

The only lawsuit specifically identified in the May 22 
article is one filed by Mr. Davidson. The article quotes at 
length from that lawsuit wherein Mr. Davidson generally alleges 
that when he yielded to pressure and purchased political 
fundraising tickets he was promoted and became a tenured 
administrator, but when he stopped contributing to political 
events he suffered from retaliatory action and was ultimately 
suspended. 

The article failed to disclose, however, that in February 
2007, long before Mr. Davidson filed his lawsuit, the Board 
filed a tenure action against him seeking his dismissal. There 
were four charges in the tenure action. Three of the charges 

81 



concerned Mr. Davidson's alleged refusal to permit certain 
employees with physical disabilities to use an elevator key in 
order to avoid stairs. The fourth charge concerned a sexual 
harassment allegation advanced by an employee against him. The 
federal court complaint, referred to in the May 22 article, was 
not filed until June 2007, The tenure charges and the lawsuit 
were settled together in the fall or early winter 2007. Mr. 
Davidson also challenged an earlier decision by the Board to 
withhold certain salary increases and that challenge also was 
settled as part of the agreement that resolved the tenure 
charges and the allegations in his lawsuit, 
f. Patti Gallante 

Patti Gallante is a recently retired Elizabeth Board of 
Education teacher. She was quoted in the May 22 article as 
claiming that she and others felt pressure to purchase tickets 
to political events. She too has a history of being 
oppositional to the Board. 

Ms. Gallante is active in an organization called "The 
Elizabeth Education Organizing Committee" (EEOC) , which is a 
local chapter of a Trenton-based committee called the "Statewide 
Education Organizing Committee". She is listed as a "leader" 
and as the Treasurer of the organization on the EEOC's website. 

The EEOC has been vocal in its opposition to the Board. As 
an example, on the heels of the series of articles about the 

82 



Board published by the Star Ledger, the EEOC publicly called on 
the United States Attorney's Office to investigate the 
allegations of misconduct; it also called on the Department of 
Education to remove Board members and it demanded that the 
current leadership of the Board be held accountable. 

Ms. Gallante also has personally participated in public 
protests against the Board. In the spring of 2011, prior to the 
local elections that took place in May, Ms. Gallante was seen 
picketing in front of Jefferson Academy, along with about ten 
other people who were protesting against the Elizabeth Board of 
Education . An employee who saw Ms . Gallante at this protest was 
told by one of the protesters that the organization had a branch 
in Trenton . Given Ms . Gallante ' s involvement with the EEOC, 
which has a branch in Trenton, and the EEOC ' s publicly 
communicated concerns about the Board, it is likely that the 
protest at which she was seen was organized by the EEOC. That 
Ms. Gallante is an officer of an organization that has been 
critical of the Board and was seen protesting against the Board 
by no means disqualifies her as a source. It does, however, 
suggest that she might have something less than an objective 
perspective. 

g. Eddie Branquinho 

Eddie Branquinho was never employed by the Elizabeth Board 
of Education. He was a Board member for less than a year from 

83 



2008 to 2009 and I am informed that he was not regularly in 
attendance during that time period. He replaced a former Board 
member, Tony Monteiro, during Mr. Monteiro's term and he 
therefore had to run for re-election less than a year later. 

During his brief tenure on the Board, Mr. Branquinho and 
then Board member Rafael Fajardo had some disagreements that 
created ill-will. In particular, there was an occasion on which 
the Board needed to hire an investigator and Mr. Branquinho 
strongly supported the retention of an investigator that he knew 
and liked. A different investigator was retained, and Mr. 
Branquinho accused Mr. Fajardo of interfering with the 
appointment of the investigator he had supported. Whether as a 
consequence of that incident or not, Mr. Branquinho, on his own, 
ran for re-election against the "Continue the Progress" slate, 
and he lost. Thus, although Mr. Branquinho was a member of the 
Board for only a short time, during his tenure his relationship 
with Mr. Fajardo and the incumbent Board clearly became 
adversarial . 

* * * 

Undeniably, each one of the Ledger's identified sources had 
an obvious bias and/or adversarial relationship with the Board, 
a Board member or the Superintendent. None of those biases or 
adversarial relationships was disclosed by the Ledger. 



84 



In view of the severity of the allegations in the news 
story and the harshness of the rhetoric in the editorial — 
which included a demand for criminal investigations — the Star 
Ledger's knowing or unknowing reliance on obviously biased 
sources is problematic and disappointing. No objective reader, 
informed of those biases, could rely on the Star Ledger's 
reporting and commentary with confidence. The unreliability of 
the Ledger news story, which served as the foundation for the 
cruel and irresponsible Editorial the following day, has caused 
undeserved damage to the reputation of an outstanding urban 
school district . 



85 



VI 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

Because the focus of the Star Ledger articles was on 
participation by Elizabeth School Board employees in political 
fundraising activities, I have collected information concerning 
fundraising events for Elizabeth School Board and other 
elections over the past several years at which there was 
significant attendance and participation by School Board 
employees . Of the 19 events for which information was 
available, 15 events were sponsored by the "Continue the 
Progress" organization, its affiliate "The Fajardo Team", or a 
sub-committee of those organizations, and the funds raised at 
those 15 events were intended to be used to support candidates 
for the Elizabeth Board of Education. Those 15 events, their 
titles, ticket prices and dates are set forth below: 

1. Reception sponsored by Committee to Re-elect 
Cascio, DaSilva & Burgos, hosted by Armando DaSilva, March 27, 
2003, $100; 

2. "Go Hawaiian" Celebration, honoring candidates 
Moore, Fajardo and Gonzalez, sponsored by The Fajardo Team, June 
17, 2005, $35; 

3. Reception sponsored by The Fajardo Team to honor 
Board President Rafael Fajardo, June 15, 2005, $100; 



86 



4 . Dinner and Dance Reception sponsored by Continue 
the Progress, honoring Elizabeth Board of Education Members and 
special guests, November 4, 2005, $50; 

5. Campaign Kick-Off (Dinner and Dancing) for Re- 
election of DaSilva, Cascio & Burgos, sponsored by Continue the 
Progress, February 10, 2006, $50; 

6. Special Night of Italian food, Dancing and Prizes 
(no speeches), sponsored by Marie Munn, Tony Monteiro, Carlos 
Truj illo and Continue the Progress , March 30 , 2007 , $50 ; 

7. Dinner and Dancing Celebration, honoring Tony 
Monteiro, Marie Munn and Carlos Truj illo, sponsored by Continue 
the Progress , May 18 , 2007 , $60 ($75 at the door) ; 

8. "The Thriller" Costume Party Fundraiser, 
sponsored by Continue the Progress, October 26, 2007, $50; 

9. Campaign Kick-Off (Dinner and Dancing) for Re- 
election of Rafael Fajardo, Francisco Gonzalez and Fernando 
Nazco, sponsored by The Fajardo Team, February 1, 2008, $60; 

10. VIP reception, in support of Re-election of 
Francisco Gonzalez, Rafael Fajardo and Fernando Nazco, sponsored 
by The Fajardo Team, April 9, 2008, $250; 

11. Get Out the Vote Fundraiser, in support of Re- 
election of Francisco Gonzalez, Rafael Fajardo and Fernando 
Nazco, sponsored by The Fajardo Team, April 11, 2 008, $60; 



87 



12 . Fall Festival Fundraiser (Dinner and Dancing) 
honoring Chris Christie, Candidate for Governor, sponsored by 
Continue the Progress and Members of the Elizabeth Board of 
Education, October 2, 2009, $75; 

13. Campaign Kick-Of f Fundraiser, (Dinner and 
Dancing) sponsored by Francisco Gonzalez, Tony Monteiro and 
Continue the Progress, March 5, 2010, $75; 

14. Holiday Cocktail Cheer, sponsored by Continue the 
Progress, December 20, 2010, $50; 

15 . Holiday Celebration (Dinner and Dancing) , 
sponsored by Tony Monteiro and Continue the Progress, December 
2, 2011, $100. 

I am informed by Tony Monteiro, who was involved in the 
organization and planning of those events, that the solicitation 
of ticket purchases for those events was done by mail from a 
mailing list that Mr. Monteiro has compiled over the years, and 
that in-person solicitation of ticket purchase was minimal and 
informal. Mr. Monteiro did not exclude the possibility that 
employees of the District might discuss prospective fundraising 
events with each other, or inquire of colleagues and friends 
whether they planned to attend, in view of the significant 
emphasis on socializing, dining and dancing that characterizes 
most of the events. But he emphasized that the vast majority of 
ticket purchases were the result of checks mailed to his office, 



the address for which served as the return address on the 
invitations . 

Tickets to two other of the nineteen events also were sold 
predominately by mail, although the beneficiaries were 
different. On May 12, 2 010, Rafael Fajardo, Tony Monteiro and 
the Victory 2010 Committee sponsored a $500 per person 
fundraiser, the proceeds of which were to be used in the 
forthcoming elections for the Elizabeth City Council. 
Solicitations to buy tickets to that fundraiser were sent to 
individuals on the mailing list compiled by Mr. Monteiro as well 
as by email and, as with the fundraisers for School board 
elections, personal solicitation of ticket purchases was 
minimal . Similarly, a Gala dinner and dance event honoring 
Board of Education President Carlos Trujillo and Volunteers of 
the Year, sponsored by Victory 2 011, was held on February 4, 
2011. Tickets were $150, and were $250 to attend a special VIP 
reception. Proceeds from the event were to be used for the 2 011 
Union County Freeholder election, and solicitations of ticket 
purchases were conducted predominately by mail. 

Two fundraising events - one in 2 010 and one in 2011 - 
relied primarily on host committees rather than mail 
solicitation to solicit ticket sales. Because in my view the 
composition of those committees, consisting primarily of 
administrators and other School System employees, conveyed an 

89 



impression of excessive involvement by the Elizabeth School 
system in the organization of the two events, I am recommending 
that the Board of Education take action to prevent any such 
impression of excessive involvement in a political fundraising 
event from occurring in the future. 

The first such event was a testimonial dinner on September 
24, 2010 honoring Rafael Fajardo, who had resigned from the 
Board in June 2010, for his seventeen years of service as a 
member of the Elizabeth Board of Education. The ticket price 
was $150 . The sponsor was a political committee called Victory 
2010, and the proceeds of the dinner were donated to the 
political campaigns of candidates for election to the Elizabeth 
City Council in November 2010, including Diego Padilla, Carlos 
Lucio, Armando DaSilva, Carlos Cedeno, Lester Dominguez and 
Marlene Abitanto. 

Unlike almost all prior fundraisers for which tickets were 
sold by mail, tickets to the dinner honoring Mr. Fajardo were 
sold primarily through a 58 member host committee whose names 
were listed on the Dinner invitation. Most of the Host 
Committee members were high-ranking employees of the Board of 
Education, including several Assistant Superintendents, numerous 
principals and vice-principals, and other administrative and 
supervisory employees of the Board. Organizers of the Dinner 
explained that they anticipated that the use of a Host Committee 

90 



would increase the number of tickets sold and would enable 
organizers of the Dinner to be better informed about the 
progress of ticket sales than would have been possible if 
tickets were sold by mail. Approximately five-hundred tickets 
were sold for the dinner honoring Mr. Fajardo. 

The second such fundraising event was a testimonial dinner 
honoring Superintendent Pablo Munoz on May 21, 2011. The ticket 
price was $175. The sponsors of the Dinner were a political 
committee called Democrats for Change 20 th , as well as Rafael 
Fajardo, Tony Monteiro, Rose Carreto and Carlos Cedeno. As with 
the Dinner honoring Mr. Fajardo, the Dinner honoring 
Superintendent Munoz had a Committee of seventy-eight members, 
most of whom were high-ranking officials of the Elizabeth School 
District, including one Assistant Superintendent, several 
principals and vice-principals and numerous supervisory and 
administrative personnel. An initial email to potential members 
of the Host Committee was sent by a Committee Co-Chair and 
addressed to the Elizabeth School District email address of the 
recipients, with instructions that future correspondence should 
be conducted on personal email accounts. Proceeds of the dinner 
were to be used in the legislative primary campaign for District 
20 in support of Senate candidate Jerome Dunn and Assembly 
candidates Tony Monteiro and Carlos Cedeno . Approximately six 
hundred dinner tickets were sold. 



From my perspective, the issue raised by both the dinner 
honoring retired Board member Rafael Fajardo and the dinner 
honoring Superintendent Pablo Munoz is that the membership of 
the Host committees, dominated as it was by prominent 
supervisory employees of the Board of Education combined with 
the identity of the honorees, created the impression that the 
Board of Education itself was connected with those fundraising 
events. I am informed by the organizers of both events that 
they were organized and executed completely independently of the 
Elizabeth Board of Education. Nevertheless, appearances matter, 
and the primary educational mission of the Board of Education 
can be compromised if election fundraising events are organized 
in a manner that implies that the events enjoy the support and 
imprimatur of the Board of Education. 

However, as a matter of constitutional law, public 
employees have a qualified First Amendment right of free speech 
that enables them to participate in election campaigns, 
notwithstanding their public employment. In Pickering v. Board 
of Education , 391 U.S. 563 (1968), the United States Supreme 
Court unequivocally rejected the contention that school teachers 
may constitutionally be compelled to relinquish First Amendment 
rights to comment on matters of public interest relating to the 
public schools that employ them. At the same time, the Court 
acknowledged that public employers have interests in regulating 



the speech of employees to the extent that speech adversely 
affects the employer's ability to effectively perform the public 
service in which it is engaged. The Court advocated the use of 
a balancing test that weighed the First Amendment interests of 
the employee against the public responsibilities of the 
employer . 

Guided by the balancing test applied by the United States 
Supreme Court in Pickering and other cases, I believe the 
Elizabeth Board of Education has the constitutional authority to 
restrict employees from associating publicly in the organization 
of political fundraising events in a manner that conveys the 
impression that a specific event enjoys the support or 
sponsorship of the Board of Education. The Board's 
intervention, however, should not limit the right of Board 
employees to donate to or attend political fundraising events or 
to assist in their organization and execution. But the Board 
should recognize and address the fact that the publication of 
the Host Committee membership of a political fundraising event 
consisting of a substantial number of high-ranking Board of 
Education employees can be viewed as incompatible with the 
Board's primary mission of educating the school children of 
Elizabeth. Similarly, the selection of a currently serving 
high-ranking supervisory employee of the District as the honoree 



93 



at a political fundraising event also can imply Board of 
Education support or identification with the event. 

In addition, the Board should prohibit, as required by law, 
the solicitation of campaign contributions on school property or 
with the use of any school equipment or facilities, including 
the District's email network. Any and all campaign activities 
by District employees must be conducted during non-working hours 
and not on school property. 

Obviously, because the members of the Board of Education 
are elected officials, their individual involvement in electoral 
politics is necessary and inevitable. But the Board of 
Education itself, whose overarching mission is to implement 
educational policies best designed to assure high-quality 
education for the children of Elizabeth, appropriately can set 
standards designed to insulate the Board as an institution from 
involvement, or even the appearance of involvement, in political 
fundraising events or other political campaign activity. 



VII 
CONCLUSION 

During the second-half of the twentieth century, New Jersey 
compiled a dismal record of funding the educational needs of 
students in our poorest urban school districts. Relying 
primarily on property taxes, State laws prescribing school- 
funding formulas consistently shortchanged children in poor 
urban districts, whose assessed property tax ratables were 
shrinking, and favored children in wealthy suburban districts. 
Litigation challenging the school funding formulas began in 
1970, and the Robinson v. Cahill and Abbott v. Burke school- 
funding litigation came before the State Supreme Court more than 
fifteen times in the next thirty years. During that litigation, 
four state statutes providing for state funding of public 
education were held unconstitutional as applied to the poorest 
urban school districts: The State School Incentive Equalization 
Aid Law (L. 1970, C. 234); The Public School Education Act of 
1975 (L.1975, C. 212); The Quality Education Act of 1990 (L. 
1990, C. 52); and The Comprehensive Educational Improvement and 
Financing Act (L. 1996, C. 1389). Each one of those statutes, 
enacted by the Legislature and signed by the then Governor, was 
invalidated because it failed to provide funding "adequate to 
provide for the special educational needs of these poorer urban 



districts, and address their extreme disadvantages." A bbott v. 
Burke , 119 N.J. 287, 385 (1990). 

In that 1990 decision, a unanimous State Supreme Court 
ordered that, until the adoption of a new and constitutional 
funding law, the State must fund urban school districts at a 
level equal to the funding provided to children in the State's 
wealthiest districts. The Court also ordered the State to 
identify and pay for necessary supplemental programs, such as 
pre-school and full-day kindergarten, that would give urban 
school-children a fair chance to compete on an equal footing 
with children from wealthier districts . 

During the three decades of litigation designed to enhance 
funding for New Jersey urban school districts, the Star Ledger - 
as well as many of the State's other leading newspapers - 
supported the Judiciary ' s decisions to require revision of 
disparate school -funding legislation that denied adequate 
resources to urban school children. In a June 6, 1990 editorial 
published the day after the Court's unanimous opinion in Abbott 
v. Burke II , and entitled "The High Court Speaks," the Ledger 
ended its endorsement of the decision with these words: 

The last thing New Jersey needs now is 
another constitutional crisis. The 
Legislature must act responsibly and adopt 
legislation that meets the constitutional 
mandate of the Supreme Court decision. 



One of the urban districts that benefitted greatly from 
those decisions was Elizabeth. As this Report demonstrates, the 
students in the Elizabeth School District currently are 
realizing consistently high levels of educational achievement 
and Elizabeth has among the highest scores on standardized tests 
of all of the school Districts in its socioeconomic bracket. 

With approximately 590 operating school districts in New 
Jersey, the Star Ledger's selection of Elizabeth - a compelling 
example of the educational improvement envisioned by the Court 
decisions to enhance urban school funding and supplemental 
programs - as the target for such a derogatory, harsh and 
unsubstantiated series of articles and editorials is difficult 
to comprehend. As this Report demonstrates, the allegations of 
persistent political pressure to raise campaign funds are false, 
and their origins are clearly attributable to biased and 
unreliable sources. The political critics of the Board - led by 
Senator Lesniak and Mayor Bollwage - have been engaged for many 
years in a persistent and unprincipled campaign to damage and 
discredit the Board. They appear to be motivated not by 
dissatisfaction with the District's remarkable educational 
record but by other interests that would flow from political 
control of the Elizabeth School Board. 

This Report demonstrates that, despite the efforts of 
political opponents to diminish its achievements, the Elizabeth 

97 



School System is one of the most successful urban school 
districts in New Jersey. The residents of Elizabeth rightfully 
can take well-deserved pride in the extraordinary 
accomplishments of its school children. I hope the day is not 
too distant when that pride is acknowledged and acclaimed by the 
Star Ledger 



February 9 




98 



EXHIBIT A 



FDTTORTAT S 

Looks lik e payback 

Saturday, April 01, 2006 

Excuse us for being skeptical, but Sen. Raymond Lesniak's recent concern with the 
finances of the Elizabeth school district are a little hard to swallow. This week, the 
Democratic senator from Union County asked the Assembly Budget Committee, which 
started looking at state school aid figures, to scrutinize the finances of the Elizabeth 
district. He also asked the state Education Department to appoint a state monitor to 
oversee the district's spending. Strange? It seems so. 



Ordinarily, senators are cheerleaders for towns in their districts, working overtime 
to guarantee that they get their fair share from the state plus some. In a remarkable 
reversal, Lesniak decided to do just the opposite. He seems to be inviting the state to 
hold back money originally slated for Elizabeth. If Lesniak were truly concerned with 
the public purse, we would applaud him. But we suspect this is not about a sudden 
attack of conscience. 



A more likely explanation is that Lesniak has decided to play hardball because the 
Elizabeth Board of Education dared to upset a land sale that Mayor Christian Bollwage 
- a Lesniak protege - thought was a done deal. The city was going to sell a 4.1 -acre 
tract to a politically connected developer at a bargain-basement price. The school board 
balked at the idea, saying the land was needed for a new vocational technical school. 

Nevertheless, the city council authorized the sale of the land for $520,000 - the same 
amount the city paid NJ Transit to buy the land. Appraisers say the site is worth more 
than $5 million. 



Turns out the developer, Vilu Construction, owned by Luis and Vivian Rodriguez, 
gave at least $5,000 to the Elizabeth mayor's 2004 re-election campaign. The two 
owners also have given at least $2,000 to Lesniak. 

It may be that some of the issues raised by Lesniak have merit. What we fear is that this 
is not about dealing with mismanagement of public funds. It's about payback. Lesniak 
seems to be out to punish the school board and by extension the taxpayers of Elizabeth. 
That's as indefensible as the original multimillion-dollar giveaway to the developer. 



EXHIBIT B 



Elizabeth public schools 

THINK* LEARN 'ACHIEVE 'CARE 



Pablo Munoz 
Superintendent of Schools 1 

September 25, 2006 

Secretary Margaret Spellings 
U.S. Department of Education 
400 Maryland Avenue SW 
Washington, DC 20202-1500 



Re. - Press release from the US Department of Education OffW t 

- Comments made by Press Sook^rJr*™ VvS • on « ° ffice of the Inspector General 
y rress spokesperson Catherine Grant to Star Ledger 9/22/06 

Honorable Madame Secretary Margaret Spellings, 

I represent the Elizabeth Public Schools district of Elizabeth, New Jersey. 

extensive review Sour opeSom Ltl^! 1 Supenntendent > our district undertook an 
systems in the State of N^W XeZTZ^*,?*™* ° fbeC0min * one of *e best school 
-^s^ta^^ 

S5fS225 SSf?fi5™~ -* ~ district opened two new P re- k 

We n^e also opeS^w ^SSS^^I^ ^ ^ ^ Rea ^ Academy. 
Gifted and Talented. Academic^ 

example, our 8* graders are now ^^d^S^^^TT "1 (F ° r 
enrollment of any high school in S^^^^o^^T^ EI,zabeth has N?est 
at our high school start at 7:30 am and end bv IS) of a "° W h ° USe$ 5 ' 300 stod «* Cla ^ 
increased dramatically, as we nZ^ ^^"St^T^'T^'^ ^ 

des^tnth:"^ 

district in achiev nTeSte i we llhl^l T?* dCSignat, '° n wilt P rovide dividends for our 

for am audit. ke such directnes seno ^i>' ^d , ( believe that we are prepared 

5«« V,rtl, Broad *r*et. EifeieMfc. .V* Ji-rsev <r2«- Pft- «** ^ l4 . r „ , . 



J 



The Elizabeth public school system is filled with very talented people who «riv* tn ft, * 

district is a good steward of all monies that we m-riv- tw?. * re that our 

the announcement of the tapenAg ault * Why w were s ^ rised «** dismayed fay 

During a teleconference call held on September 1 3* wr- h;«-.,«^ ~ -j ■• 

the district on how the audit would be cScTed The telSn Wnc. ^, ff f ** ^ P rovidcd to 

USDOE, Zachary Sudiat Alvct TvmriZ iw f « ? ,2 ^ included 4 representatives from 

Our team was candid with those individuals who participated in the tei^nf^,. .u * - , 

sale of, parted prop^ to a political supped of our S ^a^S 8 

as a potential site for a new school »d K^to L „l^f, *•* property to have a much greater value 
price to , private developer. aZXTZ ^mJ^T ^ ' '"""J*" "* *"« 

preyed npon by the politically cor^ecL^Telrov^^aTiir. °" K "™" , "" ,y " ^ 

re^T^ ^""j " h ".^" e5Md ■•*<>*». to investigate the matter and is still await™ . 

connected? On- bottom line is that we will help to compTS We l^rel * P °'°' C * ,I> ' 

were any documents, positions or other material that would be issued W to n* , 



I 



J 



Excerpt, from USDOE/ Office of the Inspector General - Press Release 9/13/06: 



« Of.ice or inspector General is committed to ensuring that education dollars reach the 
•ntenoed recipients. ^ sad John P. Higgle, Jr. Inspector General of the U. S Decker* 
******* M*r* 9am to take a foe* at tha- District and dsfsrmine if federal funds warn ^ 
" * * 3pP,ICaWS fed6r3t COSt Princlptes - Efebaftfamifes and sradsntsti^e 



The comments were unfortunate and the inference is obvious that Elizabeth Public Schools misht in fact 
be providing "less than what the families and students deserve" 

We only learned of this press release on September 21, 2006 when a reporter contacted, our office to «t 
comments on the audit Thai press release was forwarded to him. This conduct was directly contrary to 
the adv.ce by your representatives that no public information or comment would be forthcoming until a 
proper review was conducted as part of the due process that is afforded all entities. 

^nS: L !f^ r ! the ™st Prominent newspaper in the State of New Jersey carried the story on September 
J./., 2.UU©. Mere is an excerpt. 



^t aU irt^^ ra l DepartT,ert °1 Education ' s 0ffice * Inspector General is rare in the 
state and a federal spokeswoman said ft was prompted by recent public allegations of 
questionable spending by the Elizabeth board and administration. 

-It is our policy not to discuss our work until it is completed, but there have been allegations 
since January in the newspapers and elsewhere of wrongful expenditures," said Catherine 
Grant, a spokeswoman for the inspector general's office 



ItllT^l f^Z le , Wtte ™ fortunate - U-S. Department of Education officials have successfully 
t^tl^f* X2J *?t ^ p0rtM *! d , ' A in 3 nC8ative ^ CTen significant review has 

^ZtZ!f^ 1S f^ FmanCe t: m " ch Iess ^ Mn S °f ^propriety. As a result of this action, our 
belief m the validity of this process has been severely undermined. We are confident that once your 
rev,ew of this matter is complete that you will conclude that the district and its reputation have been 
irreparably harmed and impugned. 

The "coincidence" of all of these forces converging at once leads us to believe that some might be 
motivated by local or regional elections that are taking place. The very issues that the Office of Inspector 
General has commented on will no doubt be used at this moment for political gain on Tuesday, September 
26 as well as m the elections of November, 2006. You should know about this because it might explain 
motives that are not readily visible to anyone outside of Elizabeth. 

I do know this. The Department's statement to the press undermined the sincerity and credibility of all of 
those involved ur this audit process. By stating that "it is our policy not to discuss our work until it is 
completed and then proceeding to comment regardless makes us further question the motivation behind 
^ S T ,?f 150 g t0 the audk wi!1 re <* uire our dis *ri<* to expend considerable time and resources 

* tv C °tVt SpC , nt S! Where - Perhaps that is exactl >' the resuIt ^ired by the political opponents of 
the Elizabeth Board of Education. 

The Elizabeth Public Schools district asks that you review this matter. It is one that warrants Your 
immediate attention. I hope that you will be able to right the wrong that has been committed and i hope 



Thank you for your attention to this important matter. 
Sin 




PibJ6 Mufloz 

Superintendent of Schools^ 
Enclosure; 



Looks Like Payback- Star Ledger - Editorial from the Star Ledger Editor, April I, 2006 
This School Could Be A City - Star Ledger, June 25, 2006 
Elizabeth Public Schools - Information For The Taxpayer 
Elizabeth Public School Strategic Plan 

United States Department of Education - Press Release September 13, 2006 (ed.gov) 
Fed Auditors Scrutinize Elizabeth Schools - Star Ledger, September 22, 2006 



EXHIBIT C 




Elizabeth public schools 

THINK* IEARN* ACHIEVE* CARE' 

Pablo Mufioz 

Superintendent of Schools 

September 29,2006 

Margaret Spellings 

U.S. Department of Education 

400, Maryland Avenue, SW 
Washington, DC 20202- 1500 

Honorable Madame Secretory Spelling, 

Subject Announcement of a USDOE Audit Investigation in a political brochure 

Revelation of Congressman Bob Andrews letter to USDOE calling for audit 

rn light of my letter to you September 25, 2006 I would like to advise you of a serious matter that has 
added cause tor concern here in the Elizabeth Public Schools district. 

I have attached for you a politically created newspaper that highlights the audit investigation of our 
district and m fact provides us more information on the origins of why we are the subject of this audit It 
also confirms for usthe existence of a highly focused smear campaign by a group of individuals to attack 
our school district. This is a coordinated effort on the part of a Democratic party boss to elicit :he support 
of any agency he can in achieving his goal to overtake a democratically elected board. 

Our opponents are upset that the Board of Education has stood strong on the issue of the acquisition of a 
P ™ p ^. ° r the construction of a new high school. The property in question was assessed to have a value 
of i 1 Million Dollars. The local municipality had identified a politically connected supporter to purchase 
the land for only $520,000. Since that moment of 'standing up for what is right' and seeking a solution to 
reduce the overcrowding in the nation's largest high school, our district has now seen a mysterious 
confluence of forces all apparently led by NJ State Senator Raymond Lesniak to undermine our district. 

The political campaign that Senator Lesniak and his protoges have conducted statewide against our 
district m faet has implications in other elections, but that presumably is not your area of concern 
Unfortunately it also appears to us that Congressman Robert Andrews is now a main protagonist in this 
classical New Jersey political theater. Madame Secretary, there is an old saying that "the first casualty of 
war is truth and the circumstances that we find ourselves in warranto that we seek your support and" ' 
guidance to reach that troth before it is in faet a casually of this battle. 

The leadersh ip of this district as well as the many friends and supporters that we count on are h>hiv 
concerned with the selection of Elizabeth for an audit of Title I funds. We are concerned that it was 
represented to us that this was not politically motivated, when it obviously was politicaitv motivated We 
are concerned that the United States Department of Education represented that it would not comment at 
ail publtch . and then it did so through an unbelievably timed press release. We were total I v left in the 
dark as to where a complaint might have arisen. Amazingly the full story of how our district has been 

5»H» Wrfc Bread .Street, ElUat>«tl». Ne»- Jenwv <r2(T Mir <»&436. SUM Fau m.4Sb. mS 



targeted by the federal government was introduced two days before a highly charged political election I 
have enclosed the can.pa.gn newspaper, paid for by Elizabeth Mayor Chris Boilwa^oted on pale 7 
This umair and improper coordinated effort warrants an investigation. 

The irony for many in the Stale ofNew Jersey is even greater. Senator Lesniak and Mayor Chns 

h r3 oTo^rl 2° r ^ S , U r PPOrt of Con *~»» And ™* resides in CanJen County, at the 

other end of our State, Instead of focusing on tas own region, he has instead chosen to immerse Lself 
m an ,ssue that relate, to a d.strict two hours north of him. The selection of our school district for ^s 

audrt as a result of a politically motivated mission should be of grave concern. The Star Ledger of New 

Our district and its supporters, whether they be community or elected representatives, are concerned that 
fte United States Department of Education has opened itself up to this subterfuge and is unlovSv 
being used for the purposes of some from the State of New Jersey. The Department of Education She 
Office of the Inspector General are being used as powerful pawns in a highly foouseS P oS smfar 
campaign. The political desires of some should not compel an otherwise unnecessary audit of our district 

Madame Secretaire feel confident that our financial administration is worthy of your review We will 
continue our good farth effort to provide any documents that your auditors require. Our dist^S'is one that 
13 r f mi °" e of *f bcSt «° n * ™ h ™ districts, but it is one that is facing marry challenges and we 
need your help. We ask that we are dealt with in a fair manner. By this time it has become too olvfous 
that we are not being dealt with feirfy and as a result we request that you review thisTL Zm^Zy 
to ensure the proper resolution of this audit. We believe our district should be afforded the normal 
courtesy extended to alt dtstric* that go through this level of review. Out of this desire for fairness we 
ask that someone from your office contact us to let us know how we should proceed with this matter. 

1 would like to sincerely thank you for the attention you are giving this letter. 




Enclosure: 

City Journal - a political publication 

"Looks Like Payback"- A Star Ledger editorial on Senator Raymond Lesniak 
btar Ledger letter to the editor from State Senator Raymond Lesniak 



EXHIBIT D 



Jent By: RICHARD E. SHAPIRO, LLC; 6099190888; Feb-23-06 6:15PM- Paaa o,u 

•02/23/2008 10:28 FAX 1973 824 7339 EOUCATION LAV CENTER ' m»lt%»l 




OTTY OP BUZABSTH, NCW JBASSY 
J. CHW8TUN BOUWAGE crrrHML 

■JZAwrrH WWJtw tv onof-aue 

TB.MMIM17D 

miesea&oin 

Honorable JoaCoBrfM ^ 
OSes of the Governor 
POBoxOOl 
TT80tan,NJ 0*625 

Dear Governor Conine: 

Last month 1 wrote you constrain*, too vot^bg situation st the Elizabeth Board of Bdocatioa I 
requested that act only an external ewiitor be hired by the State of New Jsney'to conduct in audit 
of (he Elisabeth Board of Education but that At State D eparture* of Bdooetion tabs over Ac 
Elizabeth pi*lio school system. 

I report my reqnest sad give flttth^ 

Currently ifco Elizabeth Board of Bdrceitai Uroisairtig $25,000 of taxpayer/Abbott Ftmdtof S* ihe 
airing of a politically aaotivajad television oomacx^ThiB^iCMnUhel^t^peodmsdonot 
packaging for teleview* distribution costs, ibo paid fbr with taxptgrar/Ahbod ftndiag. dearly a 
cotmnatoiaj used, to self promote and gain pohtfetl snrrport if hoc -what State, local, and Abbott 
ftasding was created, to finance. 

Abbott faadjng that was created to level the odncetional playing field sad gjva urban cfcfldron the 
aiflieoypcftanitiaaj children ia^ 

the City of EilzabedL The nine Board of Btacatian member* art dipping into i vut well filed with 
millian* of dolltn of taxpaycx/AbboB flmdf&g and m sbus&ig their positions to advance their own 
political Agenda. This disturbing situation ocean unchecked end rmmoaitored while our children ' 
paytheultirnatepriwofanlnfbricc e 

The Board of Education has recently hind en sr^ier(AKD Appraisal) tod a law Ann (McCsrter 
& Hnejlah) to roe the City of Elizabeth over a disputed City owhad puce] slated fbr (fovalopmsnt 
These oqpeodkufet tt this time total tpptoxapaMy 550,000 (see attached latter to Acting 
Siajerintendent), According to Mr. Fsjudo (be Board of Education ii willing to pay the City of 
Elizabeth S5.1 million to purchase the laod fet queeUoo. Why does AeBoarf of Bdnc«tion have 1hls 
israw staple* of tsxpsyer/Abboct funding? If tte swage new school cost 530 million to buBd how 
tioee the Board of Education setiedpeta financing this new irdUetryo? These en blaring examples of 
deliberate fraudulent misuse of oxpayars/Aoboit finding. It ahowa a total dinegard for what 
Abbott flmding is mppoM to twuaed for — our children' i edooarioa. 



ejrt By:- RICHARD E. SHAPIRO, LLC; 



8099190888; Feb-23-08 8:18PM; 

EUUV.A I lUlt L«f UtNf tK 



Page 3/11 

U 002/010 



) l^itoialapoealfefietl^ 

Jussary 20, 200« ftmlMm utte!* « sayfe& "over eighteen peroral of our Wgfa school tmduHw 
cannot jot a J©V\, ,aad... "fli« m*p«ita ma u t^^Hi^peii^ tsj^ou ut &v^cc<^ 
a«4 tbMBftttaa is elavm pwoeoi." Yat tMt Boori of Edtaactoa and Actiof Suparintwidect of 
Schools Mr. PaMo Wufioz havo created nij* new position* totafhg $1,054,11 1 la stlariea. Hey 
uiclaiie: 

Mariana Abitanio (ftmer poUtfeal ODjdUrtt)— Si^frvisoT ofFfflalWoi-S«), 000* 
Ctony Wfleoti (former BOB aml^— l^eniite^ffiig SpeoJajis»-$S5,0OO 

l*aicoG»saIo^Bpervte 

Eliina DtPr^-^ipervisor of OiDponsiHen Old B«nefltg-J8$,939 

Idead© M. Dias (fonn«r BOB msnM^saivfiar of Omfaiatfo»-$60 t 000 

Olga fWa— Supervisor of Recrtiltm«4 md Hiring--586 ) 939 

Dtptma Vmym-~*A£Bmn3bm Acticc«560,00O 

Ajda Garcia— Ajiiattnt ScpcrintendcaW-SlSS^OO 

Douald Geneaivw (Jbnatf pelWeil candidate)— Awiitint loud Socwtiry-Sno.OOO* 

Don Hasson—ConildoirtiaJ Admini«txmtOT-S62,000 

Katili* Koflonocky— Director of Accouatliif-Sl 17330 

.\jmRoOTio^-- CoiifldaitlalS«cretary--S« > 000 1 

Gacwtt 5mitb->-<eun«Qt Mayos of RoatUaV-Bndgit Aoalyw-$S5,090 

*€kmatm was ghm a $60,000 rate* md promotion to aecomnmtat§ AMtanto 

Fur&er errideoee ofwrapant nepotism ooniot in the form of ft Bond ofldaeslioa Resolution. The 
attached Resolution, regifdiag § collective bargaining ggreemaet wifli th« Elizabeth Education 
Associate (BEA), ifcowa that tlx of tha aSao BOB mantel CBoaot vote on ^agrmi^ because 
. of conflict! of interett, which foctoda: . ' 




Qlf» F^wfe-- nsttr -Attaadaiie* Ualioii-435, 797 

Ut^&m^mss^^SSLkOm Support-$49,8<» 

Mariano Ptjanio-dSUibtef-Child DtvalepaeiiS-SSS^S 

Brio Xa3Bck-^on.ia.lftW-WebDtwdoB«wS5l,050 

Total Mlvin for faulty memberi of Rafta! Fajirde $197, 927 

— ^T 7 Pattorftaal Burgos— 

Karoos M. Btn^a-wJjH^Piraot Liaisoa-^35,797 
Marin* B«rgp#-*wte-WorUI Langoa$e-$4©^31 
MsdBaB«ifot~iift^^ 

Total lalario for family membwi of Pajtor Rail Bwgos - S117,$33 

BOE Vice ProWeat Armando Da Sllvt— 

Asa Da $ftvt~wi£c~*tmpatet data entry -440,380 

-y Carlos Cedaio — 

I ' Supported by tba BUzabtta Educates Association PAC in fho 2004 Boazd of 

Education alectfou 

Jmirif*r Ced«w>^POOJ«~tMo!]n/tuto^-5S2,?40 



*nt'By: RICHARD £. SHAPIRO, LLC; 8099190888; Fab-23-OB fl -, RPU . 

02/23/2008 ™ "73 824 7339 EDUCATION LAI CENTER 8 ' 18PM ' vi&SH' 



. ) All of tie above &ialty mmbm mm bind after their {**pactr*e Bd«4 of Education tally 
monbcrwu elected into office towMfttoo, Mi^®%€mmmmmmJmmLumm& 
ally of the Kkatxah Bend of Edocttlmt, ™ given • $71 ,J27 Purohufag Agent p^\» wirici he 
vae* to promote the political interest of the Bond, ae evidenced by to attacbed contract for tie 
abovs roamionod eoaiaiefBW. A Fuefeeji Order fer fte payment of iae BofitfeaUy ooiviiid 
commercial bet beta issued sad aetveai tefl at flut an additional Tushaee Order of S25.000 is 
^jmajj* Jt ii Jo^peitiai ta not* Out Counctoan faapaa and £oard ©f lifiaaifatffiBBfelf 

? ******** ** 'were cJto hired to SSfe 
th» Ehxibtrth School system* ind holudo: 

KaHry Sullivan- Jaapao'i rauw^«cretey~S30, 074 

Fitricis Fafloa«/aspzin r B Daajatar-Pareot Iteii«435 t 797 

Meat Naliia«iwtpM^ii|»»i Biq^foli*w?j|»K T«eto8fk.«S45 t 060 



^JT^ftJi?"? ^^f^^^W^ *» Bowl of Education racrrtly rwarded 

Bdueatwa ie alio canmiy fhadbtg th« previom Superintendent, Tbtmm Dunn Jr.'a nisy of 
SI 99,933, in iddltioQ to Me. Mnftoz't, watea in total is costing &e sebogj dinrict $409,212 to Sad 
one position. 



^*i«*«^faofa*iK^ 

annminauitgemeiitof taxpayct^^ Aaiaarti&alBHBtba 
lietgaad or i mechanism scat be Implemented « At Sttte level to review sad uuig ait 
owiiiiexniiijjtedfaig. Ftodfagfetaniled^ow^ 

tills Board of Bdwsetioa poQti&a) play money. . w™^ 

If an tadit by the State of New Jeisey coniimi tfii above and mwm* additional misuse of 
government funds certtla remedies slwuld be inathnted to- prevent urenwnaible sad wnti&J 
*I«iidiiii>lMvidUBtowto^^ 

Of>partaii«ei,i§©feJ^ fecoi^t^c^opwjrtaaltiei 
being taide avafleUe eratopoWM enmiee lad Board of BtaeatJon SmnfymmObm faleJbrra of 
jobs and large aalartes. 

The obvious misuse aid miamanagetaent of Abbott/taxpayer fkada, recent promotions, poridcai 
c*»*^tadsetf.fH©^^ 

within the BHrafcetli Board of Edaaitieii tbiy dnxsutate die immediate need fat interventioc 

The StataahouM strongly txiiisidcrrcwcrkiag the ^ 
on tpolidcdly motivated t^»vWoaidvcrti»einent 

If 4e afaownwaloTtid financiil discrepanniaj aw confirmed by an external andif shotdd not the 
Acting Superintendent of Schooli Mr. Pablo Muitoz resign ft* allowing Abbott District and 
teptyer fimde to be recklessly nued for tlsngs other to its intended vs*-tha education of our 
children? 

Shom not the nine members of the Boarf of Education resign if taxpayaj'Abbott Smiing it being 
misused and nnsdfreeted toward fee Aelr owi poHtfcaJ ftdvnceneoi, mpotisa, tad geaeal flaeal 



3 , tnt'syc RICHARD E. SHAPIRO, LLC; 

" . 02/23/2008 10:36 FAX 1373 824 7333 



6099190888 j Feb -23- 08 6:16PM' 

EDUCATION LAI CENTER 



Pags 5/11 

Ifi UU4/U IU 



Should ?uirhjiing Apai Jsspss not reri«n ftc ■atodzfau trcpayer/Abbott fimding fir the 
cpsadeo, dcviiopm«nt, and pUmmm of poUtic«Jly rootjvtiad and sclf-prornottof television 
c otuiftemiali? 

Mtmmy least, serious- consideration should be giwo to the takecv* ©f t|» Hfesbeiti W>le 
School District by the Sato Depastmm of BdtmtfeflL w w«fl as an external mdit of a]J District 
ftnanc*! tlatthl be eeoteetedL 



When Albeit ftadiag wu made available to «Aiac«iMHktfliiC%af ife^^jn^^ 
cMtem would hsy§ t dune* for i better Man t&d oould ev < mtujvl}y competa wl A atm!c©tg fixra 
moitt idvanugod ichocl diHtriots, Each day those bopts and teams •» fti&s «g m ImmmtMa 
mm and women pliaed la charge of our childKn's flimre coitfiime to simoelegily nritwt and 

ndamfflap teliaf fiw ow stsdents, yielding • 8^eillytaadiipi»s«fe^tkajdfyrti» 

Nm only is the IBzabetb Boerd of Education not a model &r Abbot* School atmee* it is as 
exaniptoefteiad^.lMf^v«^«Mi(to^r4 tteHiab^BosfdiofaiaDStloiibcia?es 
in a fashion thai doca not yjppon die ipiilhy of adoc^WMdefiswl ia out-Cmatlfe^w, looting in 
t coorimiil disservice to our children and our (Sty. 

Duet sMMrtn's snoees*. and Inure ere in grave danger it the hands of the Elizabeth Board of 
Bdwstioa and Ai^f S^wrinWdsot of Spools. ChjratodW aceda andcd^cmEiprograw are 
beiag igeend by s School Board inetivitsd by politics! aspirations tod fteted byta endless saooat 
of funding. Students of tdemeattry School # 29 attend dim without lay booki. WUte 
taxpayer/Abbott finding is wed fat poitfetl televiaion commercials, peliiotl vmfettu tad ooatly 
scli-prcmotiflg legal figh^ 



As elected ofleisls It is ecx dary to protect the intsrset ofsflonr residents. Although s child's voice 



ms^neAbelimd-ItiilionHjiwretiJtigaowd. Our children t» tdiacaroWs leaden, educate*, aad 
refwesmwlvesar^tbeki^tos!^^ 

today, 

Governor, the sanation la grim and intervention is desporazefy needed to stop millions of 
taxitayex/AUxmrnoii^ Oivdifidm'sllitDielsbejas^sdto 
itaa. If aotbjag it done no prevent this dfaeracenil Bond trfBkmattem fan ^faring my -hUrtim'tr 
livea, things caa only worsen. Education isoaeoftbe pistesi gifts you can give *> child, and In the 
Ctty of EUeta that gift is beta* seifletary denied. Tte HfeibeiJi Board of Education has** their 
priorities aod doey do not include our ctdldrea's education. 




OaisBoHwife 

EitcloeufS Weyor 
Cc! Members of the Stete Senate 

Members of (he General Ajsembly 



e*nf Byr RICHARD E. SHAPIRO, LLC; 
.02/23/2008 10:30 FAX 1973 624 7338 



6099190888; Feb-23-08 8:17PM; 

EDUCATION LAI CENTER 



Paga 6/11 

Ifl UU3/U IV 



Finance tad Accoun i inf Report 
AuhotisHloQ w Ply Voucher* 



P 

Y 



Hlfcibeth, KJ -Ft bruny 10. 2006 
Tie Acting Superinitndou of Schcoli wwaaneads approval of the Allowing: 



> 



I.' * 


' Aratnerk 

(TripioFn&kliQlnsdtctM-HoUpef M.S.) J 673.00 j 




Art Appraisal Corupmy 
fTwo Prooartei} 




6.000.00 


■ i * 


193. MiHrr* Company 


i 


MO. 00 


4. • 


Bttmadi Townsbip fatttaia 
iRzwtMVXian Fee - Foofffe Tounument) 


• 


. 220,00 


~ 5. • 


City of EHsabcrti 

fftosm Tax* 1- Qtianar- Mnctltl 




1*49 1.Of- 


i * 


Courtyard Winstoo^Safcni 




335 61 


I feofenkral 3«rviea - Aewdiirfan Seh. 14) 




1 

1500.00 


I 


Engineering £ FToftaeiona) StfMcti 
(Mftnftoring Service; 
(Maintenance Sen-ice - November)- 
(Maintenance Sertfw - December) 
(Monitoring Service) 


■ 

i 3.739.00 
•.100.00 
■ 9,100.0c 
M7.40 
U 14.04 


■ 

2441144 


9. 






330.00 


1 W 7 " 


Ooszsies. Roger 


i 


1700-W 


l!> 


ttStiF* 

fAmer. n««I Die. AMcc, Coov.) 




■I 740 00 




KoneyweQ. Jne. 




32.JZXU 


13. ' 


IneuranecC 




I 


4200.00 


14. 


Libany IVlechaofeeJ Cowanon, Ins. 
rRw/TooHVAC Svram-EHS) 








McCarterl 


d Service*) 







E 
jjy, Jd _L X3 -L X JZi 





Elizabeth ioard of Education Timeline of Audits 




Date of Notification 


Reference 


Investigation 


1 


7/27/2005 


OCI #878 


Personnel Issues 


2 


9/6/2005 


C2006-2731 


Noncompilant with state or Federal special Ed laws 


3 


9/21/2005 


OCI #902 


Public school Contracts Review - Elevator maintenance 


4 


1/19/2006 


OCI #878 


Additional Personnel Issues 


5 


4/18/2006 


OCI #878 


Allegations of Unfair Hiring Standards 


6 


5/18/2006 


C2006-2812 


Noncompliant with state or Federal special Ed laws 


7 


6/7/2006 


OCI #943 


Early Childhood Provider Wonderworld 


8 


6/12/2006 


NJ Attorney General 


State Grand Jury Subpoena 


9 


6/15/2006 


NJDOE Dept of Finance (A) 


Investigation of costs associated with greatest ratable 








publication and video production 


10 


8/10/2006 


OCI 1037, 1038 


Early Childhood Program 2005-2006 


11 


9/7/2006 


OCI #1109 


Public school Contracts Review - Student Uniforms 


12 


9/13/2006 


OIG 


Title 1 Audit 




9/19/2006 


(A) Commisioner Davy 


Letter announcing deduction $88K for illegal advertising 


14 


10/4/2006 


OCI 


Administrative Expenses 


15 


1/26/2007 


C2007-3236 


Noncompliant with state or Federal special Ed laws 


16 


3/1/2007 


KPMG 


Forensic Audit 7/1/04-6/30/06 


17 


7/30/2007 


OF AC 


Criminal History Review Process 


18 


9/6/2007 


OF AC #1345 


Employment & Termination Issues 


19 


9/10/2007 


OFAC #1369 


Alleged interrogations of Students 


20 


9/14/2007 


OFAC 1231,1232,1233,1234 


Four Early Childhood Providers 2006-2007 


21 


10/17/2007 


NJDOE Grants Management 


Hurricane Recovery Act Program 


22 


12/3/2007 


OFAC #1232 


Early Childhood Program 2006-2007 


23 


12/12/2007 


NJDOE State Aid Audit Unit 


Early Childhood Expansion Aid Enrollment 2007 


24 


4/23/2008 


OFAC (B) 


Review of Publication and Advertising Expenses 


25 


4/30/2008 


OFAC #1420 (B) 


ECPA extended day/year salary review 


26 


5/2/2008 


OFAC #1419 (B) 


Legal Fees 


27 


5/5/2008 


OFAC (B) 


Follow up Review KPMG Forensic Audit 




5/30/2008 


(B)NJDOE Subpoena 


ECPA Expansion aid Enrollment, Publication and 








Advertising, Legal Fees, Follow up on KPMG Forensic, 








ECPA extended day/year salary review 


28 


12/11/2008 


OFAC 


Request for 2006-2008 Overtime Records 


29 


1/8/2009 


NJ Division of Public Contracts 


Compliance with EEO 


30 


1/12/2009 


OFAC 


Follow up Review KPMG Forensic Audit 


31 


2/27/2009 


Fed Communication Comm 


Federal E-Rate Program 


32 


3/12/2009 


OFAC (C) 


Request (Auditors unannounced visit) to 








review publications July 08-March 09 




3/12/2009 


(C) NJDOE Subpoena 


Publications November 08-March 09 


33 


3/24/2009 


Office of Legislative Services 


Audit July 1, 2009 - April 23, 2010 


34 


4/1/2009 


OFAC 


Public School Contract Compliance Review 


35 


6/5/2009 


OFAC 


Grading Practices Review 


36 


6/5/2009 


OFAC 


Criminal History and Certification Review 


37 


10/19/2009 


Internal Revenue Service 


Deffered Compensation 403B audit 


38 


10/26/2010 


NJ Division of Public Contracts 


Compliance with EEO 




3/24/2010 


OIG (See 9/13/2006) 


USDOE determination Letter from Title 1 audit 




10/29/2010 


OLS (See 3/24/2009) 


Report issued on audit of July 1, 2007-April 23, 2010 



EXHIBIT F 



Rl ITCFRS 



Department of Educational Psychology 

Graduate School of Education 

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 

10 Seminary Place 

New Brunwslck, NJ 08901-1183 



www.gse.rutgers.edu 



Graduate School of Educatior 



732-932-7496, Ext. 8327 
Fax: 732-932-6829 



January 26, 201 2 

Justice Gary Stein 
Pashman Stein, P.C. 
21 Main Street, Suite 100 
Court Plaza South 
Hackensack, New Jersey 07601 



Dear Justice Stein: 



I am writing this letter to confirm that I have been retained by Pashman Stein, P.C. starting 
September 201 1 to assist in your work regarding an Elizabeth Board of Education (EBOE) 
internal review. This letter also contains the major responsibilities that I have been tasked to do. 

Sampling of Employees to be Interviewed: To randomly sample EBOE employees to be 
interviewed, I requested through Pashman Stein a copy of the roster of all the individuals 
employed by the school district. As of September 26, 2011, the EBOE had 3825 employees. 
From this roster, I employed a simple random sampling procedure to select a total of 532 
individuals without any intervention from Pashman Stein. The employees were then contacted by 
the lawyers of Pashman Stein through the EBOE. Of the 532 employees, 131 agreed to be 
interviewed, 139 declined the interview request, 243 did not respond, and 19 were not 
interviewed because of issues such as scheduling. Overall, the response rate of individuals who 
agreed to be interviewed was about 25%. This relatively low response rate could be a result of 
employees being informed by the school district that participation in the interview was voluntary. 
However, we have no reason to believe that those who agreed or declined to be interviewed held 
a particular point of view with respect to the issues being investigated. 

Raw and Weighted Analyses: Instead of dealing with the close to 250 different job titles, per my 
request, Pashman Stein provided me with a functional categorization of these job titles. The four 
functional categories I worked with are: A (Managers and Administrators), B (Teachers/Certified 
Staff), C (Skilled Assistants, Child Development Associates, Computer Technicians and 
Professionals), and D (Clerical, Skilled and Unskilled Labor, Food Service, Attendants, Security 
Guards and Liaisons). It should be noted that the categorization was carried out prior to and had 
no impact on the sampling procedure. I found that the proportions of employees interviewed 
from the A, B, C and D categories were not the same as the proportions of all the A, B, C and D 
employees in the entire district. For this reason, I conducted two separate analyses - one that 
used the raw (i.e., unweighted) responses and another that used the relative sizes of the 
categories at the district level as weights. Although the numbers from the weighted and 
unweighted analyses were different, they do not change the conclusions of the study. 



Graduate School of Education 



Margin of Error: Although the interview questionnaire consisted of over a few dozen questions 
and follow up questions, two critical questions were of primary interest: "Did you feel any 
pressure to donate? " and "Did you feel any pressure to help [volunteer]? " For these questions, I 
ascertained that based on the number of respondents (131 and 128, respectively), we are 95% 
confident that the margin of error for each question was approximately 1.5% only. Stated 
differently, at a 95% confidence level, the estimated percent of employees who felt pressure to 
donate to or volunteer for campaigns could be a low as close to 0% to no more than 2.3%. I also 
verified that, based on the same 95% confidence level, that the margins of errors for three other 
questions, "Do you know if any of your colleagues may have felt pressure [to donate]?", "Do you 
know if any of your colleagues may have felt pressure [to volunteer]?", and "How were you 
asked [to donate -] By mail? ", were all under 5%: the respective margins of error for those three 
questions were 3.9%, 1.6%, and 4.4%. 

In addition to the major responsibilities described above, I confirm that I have also provided 
Pashman Stein my opinion on the development of the questionnaire, and the coding and analysis 
of the data. 

If you need additional information regarding my involvement in this study, please do not hesitate 

to contact me atj.delatorre@rutgers.edu or at (732) 932-7496 extension 8308. 



Sincerely, 




Jimmy aria Torre, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor & Program Coordinator 
Educational Statistics, Measurement & Evaluation 
Department of Educational Psychology 
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 



CURRICULUM VITAE 
Jimmy de la Torre 



Contact Information 

Department of Educational Psychology Cell: (732) 668-8266 

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Office: (732) 932-7496 Ext. 8308 

10 Seminary Place E-mail: j.delatorre@rutgers.edu 
New Brunswick, NJ 08901 

Education 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Ph.D. in Quantitative Psychology 2003 

M.A. in Psychology 2002 

M.S. in Statistics 2001 

University of the Philippines-Diliman 

Master of Statistics 1 997 

B.S. in Psychology (magna cum laude) 1992 

Honors and Awards 

Jason Millman Promising Measurement Scholar Award (National Council on 2009 
Measurement in Education) 

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (White House) 2008 

National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award 2008 

National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship 2006 

Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship 2002 

American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Award 2002 

Selected Grants 

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Innovative Analyses of Alcohol Intervention 
Trials for College Students. (Co-Principal Investigator), August 2010 -July 2013. 



National Science Foundation. Emerging Research-Empirical— Proving Styles in University 
Mathematics. (Co-Principal Investigator), August 2010 - July 2013. 



Jimmy de la Torre - Curriculum Vitae 2 



U.S. Department of Education. Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Fellowship 

Program - Graduate Fellowships in Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Research. 
(Principal Investigator), July 2010 - June 2015. 

National Science Foundation. Development and Application of a Multilevel Evaluation 
Procedure for Examining State and School Educational Contexts. (Co-Principal 
Investigator), August 2010 - July 2013. 

National Science Foundation. CAREER: A Comprehensive Modeling Approach to Cognitively 
Diagnostic Assessment: Methodological Developments and Practical Implementations. 
(Principal Investigator), July 2008 - August 2013. 

National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. Designing Assessment to 
Support Learning: A New Approach to Test Construction and Analysis (Principal 
Investigator), July 2006 - July 2008. 

Institute of Education Sciences. Skill Profile Comparisons at the State Level: An Application and 
Extension of Cognitive Diagnosis Modeling in NAEP (Principal Investigator), June 2005 
- December 2006. 

Selected Referred Publications 

de la Torre, J. (201 1). The generalized DINA model framework. Psychometrika, 76, 179-199 

de la Torre, J., Song, H., & Hong, Y. (201 1). A comparison of four methods of IRT subscoring. 
Applied Psychological Measurement, 35, 296-3 16. 

de la Torre, J., & Hong, Y. (2010). Parameter estimation with small sample size: A higher-order 
IRT model approach. Applied Psychological Measurement, 34, 267-285. 

de la Torre, J., Hong, Y., & Deng, W. (2010). Factors affecting the item parameter estimation 
and classification accuracy of the DINA model. Journal of Educational Measurement, 
47, 227-249. 

de la Torre, J. & Lee, Y. S. (2010). A note on the invariance of the DINA model parameters. 
Journal of Educational Measurement, 47, 115-127. 

de la Torre, J. (2009). A cognitive diagnosis model for cognitively-based multiple-choice 
options. Applied Psychological Measurement, 33, 163-183. 

de la Torre, J. (2009). DINA model and parameter estimation: A didactic. Journal of 
Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 34,1 15-130. 

de la Torre, J. (2009). Improving the quality of ability estimates through multidimensional 

scoring and incorporation of ancillary variables. Applied Psychological Measurement, 33, 
465-485. 



Jimmy de la Torre - Curriculum Vitae 3 



de la Torre, J. & Karelitz, T. (2009). Impact of diagnosticity on the adequacy of models for 
cognitive diagnosis under a linear attribute structure. Journal of Educational 
Measurement, 46, 450-469. 

de la Torre, J., & Song, H. (2009). Simultaneous estimation of overall and domain abilities: A 
higher-order IRT model approach. Applied Psychological Measurement, 33, 620-639. 

de la Torre, J. (2008). An empirically-based method of Q-matrix validation for the D1NA 

model: Development and applications. Journal of Educational Measurement, 45, 343- 
362. 

de la Torre, J. (2008). Multidimensional scoring of abilities: The ordered polytomous response 
case. Applied Psychological Measurement, 32, 355-370. 

de la Torre, J., & Deng, W. (2008). Improving person fit assessment by correcting the ability 
estimate and its reference distribution. Journal of Educational Measurement, 45, 159- 
177. 

de la Torre, J., & Douglas, J. (2008). Model evaluation and selection in cognitive diagnosis: An 
analysis of fraction subtraction data. Psychometrika, 73, 595-624. 

de la Torre, J., Camilli, G., Vargas, S., & Vernon, R. F. (2007). Illustration of a multilevel 

model for meta-analysis. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 
40, 169-180. 

de la Torre, J., Stark, S., & Chernyshenko, O. (2006). Markov chain Monte Carlo estimation of 
item parameters for the generalized graded unfolding model. Applied Psychological 
Measurement, 30, 216-232. 

de la Torre, J., & Patz, R. J. (2005). Making the most of what we have: A practical application 
of MCMC in test scoring. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 30, 295-31 1. 

de la Torre, J., & Douglas, J. (2004). Higher-order latent trait models for cognitive diagnosis. 
Psychometrika, 69, 333-353. 

Selected Invited Presentations 

de la Torre, J. (201 1, December). A general framework for cognitive diagnosis modeling. Invited 
presentation at the Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University. 

de la Torre, J. (201 1 , September). Developing proportional reasoning assessment from cognitive 
diagnosis modeling: Opportunities and challenges. Invited presentation at the An 
Interdisciplinary Conference on Assessment in K-12 Mathematics: Collaborations 
Between Mathematics Education and Psychometrics, Atlanta, GA. 



Jimmy de la Torre - Curriculum Vitae 4 



de la Torre, J. (201 1, August). Multi-unidimensional pairwise preference modeling: Some recent 
developments. Invited presentation at the Research and Development Department 
Seminar, Educational Testing Service. 

de la Torre, J. (201 1 , July). The G-DINA model as a general framework for cognitive diagnosis 
modeling. Invited presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Psychometric Society, Hong 
Kong, SAR China. 

de la Torre, J. (201 1, June). Recent developments in cognitive diagnisis modeling. Invited 
presentation at the School of Psychology Colloquium, Beijing Normal University, 

Beijing, China. 

de la Torre, J. (2010, October). MCMC and its application to a complex psychometric model. 
Invited presentation at the Department of Psychology Colloquium, L'niversidad 
Autonoma de Madrid. 

de la Torre, J. (2009, October). Validation under the G-DINA framework. Invited presentation at 
the Research and Development Department Seminar, Educational Testing Service. 

de la Torre, J. (2009, October). A general framework for diagnostic modeling. Invited 

presentation at the Department of Psychology Colloquium, Universidad Autonoma de 
Madrid. 

de la Torre, J. (2009, September). Validation under the G-DINA framework. Invited presentation 
at the Quantitative Psychology Colloquium, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

de la Torre, J. (2009, September). A general framework for diagnostic modeling. Invited 
presentation at the Department of Psychology Colloquium, University of Illinois at 
Urbana-Champaign. 

de la Torre, J. (2009, May). A general psychometric framework for cognitively diagnostic 

assessments. Invited presentation at the Hong Kong Institute of Education Colloquium, 
Hong Kong, SAR China. 

de la Torre, J. (2009, March). The generalized DINA model framework. Invited presentation at 
the Department of Development Colloquium, Teachers College, Columbia University. 

de la Torre, J. (2009, February). The generalized DINA model framework. Invited presentation 
at the Department of Measurement, Statistics, & Evaluation Colloquium, University of 
Maryland. 

de la Torre, J. (2008, December). New models for cognitive diagnosis. Invited presentation at the 
Psychometrics & Quantitative Psychology Colloquium, Department of Psychology, 
Fordham University. 



Jimmy de la Torre - Curriculum Vitae 5 



de la Torre, J. (2008, November). A general framework for estimating and testing cognitive 

diagnosis models. Invited presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Korean Society for 
Educational Evaluation, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea. 

de la Torre, J. (2008, November). Innovations in diagnostic modeling. Invited presentation at the 
Annual Meeting of the Korean Educational Research Association, Seoul, South Korea. 

de la Torre, J. (2008, November). State of the art latent variable models for cognitive diagnosis. 
Invited presentation at the School of Statistics Colloquium, University of the Philippines- 
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. 

de la Torre, J. (2008, April). A cognitive diagnosis model for cognitively-based multiple- 
choice options. Invited presentation at the Department of Educational Research 
Methodology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

de la Torre, J. (2007, December). A cognitive diagnosis model for cognitively-based multiple- 
choice options. Invited presentation at the Department of Measurement, Statistics, & 
Evaluation, University of Maryland. 

de la Torre, .1. (2007, November). A cognitive diagnosis model for cognitively-based multiple- 
choice options. Invited presentation at the Quantitative Research Seminar, Department of 
Psychology, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. 

de la Torre, J. (2007, October). A cognitive diagnosis model for cognitively-based multiple- 
choice options. Invited presentation at the Department of Methodology and Statistics 
Colloquium, Tilburg University, The Netherlands. 

de la Torre, J. (2006, December). Cognitive diagnosis modeling: Developments and applications. 
Invited presentation at the Department of Psychology Colloquium, University of the 
Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. 

de la Torre, J. (2006, October). Cognitive diagnosis modeling: Model developments and 

applications. Invited presentation at the Humboldt University Institute for Educational 
Progress Colloquium, Berlin, Germany. 

Selected Training Sessions/Workshops 

de la Torre, J. (201 1, December). Cognitive Diagnosis Modeling: A General Framework 
Approach. Training and Professional Development Workshop at Northeast Normal 
University, Changchun, China. 

de la Torre, J. (20 1 1 , July). Cognitive Diagnosis Modeling: A General Framework Approach. 
Training and Professional Development Workshop at the International Meeting of the 
Psychometric Society, Hong Kong, SAR China. 



Jimmy de la Torre - Curriculum Vitae 6 



de la Torre, J. (201 1, July). Cognitive Diagnosis Modeling; A General Framework Approach. 
Continuing Professional Education Workshop for the Philippine Educational 

Measurement and Evaluation Association, Manila, Philippines. 

de la Torre, J. (201 1, June). Advanced Topics in Cognitive Diagnosis Modeling, Training and 
Professional Development Workshop at National Tai Chung University, Tai Chung, 

Taiwan. 

de la Torre, J. (2010, November). A Short Course of Cognitive Diagnosis Modeling. Training 
and Professional Development Workshop at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, 
Spain. 

de la Torre, J. (2010, June). Diagnostic Modeling and Scoring. Training and Professional 
Development Workshop at National Tai Chung University, Tai Chung, Taiwan. 

de la Torre, J., Henson. R., & Templin, J. (2010, April). Practice of Skills Diagnosis with Latent 
Variable Models. Training and Professional Development Workshop at the Annual 
Meeting of National Council on Measurement in Education, Denver, CO. 

de la Torre, J., Henson, R., & Templin, J. (2010, April). Theory of Skills Diagnosis with Latent 
Variable Models. Training and Professional Development Workshop at the Annual 
Meeting of National Council on Measurement in Education, Denver, CO. 

de la Torre, J. (2009, October). Skills Diagnosis using the G-DINA Model Framework. Training 
and Professional Development Workshop at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 
Madrid, Spain. 

de la Torre, J., Henson, R., & Templin, J. (2009, April). Skills Diagnosis with Latent Variable 
Models. Training and Professional Development Workshop at the Annual Meeting of 
National Council on Measurement in Education, San Diego, CA. 

Teaching Experience 

Instructor, Regression Analysis, Department of Educational Psychology, Rutgers University 
(Fall 2005, Fall 2008, Fall 2009) 

Instructor, Statistical Methods II, Department of Educational Psychology, Rutgers University 
(Spring 2008 - regular and online, Spring 2009 - online, Spring 2010) 

Instructor, Item Response Theory, Department of Educational Psychology, Rutgers University 
(Spring 2005, Spring 2009, Spring 201 1) 

Instructor, Statistical Methods in Education II, Department of Statistics, Rutgers University 
(Summer 2006, Summer 2005, Spring 2005, Fall 2004, Summer 2004, Spring 2004) 



Jimmy de la Torre - Curriculum Vitae 7 

Instructor, Statistical Methods in Education I, Department of Educational Psychology, Rutgers 
University (Fall 2003, Fall 2004) 

Instructor, Introduction to Statistics, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois atUrbana- 

Champaign (Summer 2002, Summer 1998) 

Work Experience 

Associate Professor, Center of Alcohol Studies, Rutgers University (July 1 , 2010 - present) 

Associate Professor, Educational Psychology, Rutgers University (July 1, 2009 - present) 

Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, Rutgers University (September 2003 - June 2009) 

Visiting Associate Professor, Departamento de Psicologia Social y Metodologi'a, Facultad de 
Psicologia, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (September - December 2010) 

Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Research and Methodology, University of Tilburg, 
The Netherlands (September ~~ November 2007) 

Professional Services 

Associate Editor - Applied Psychological Measurement (2012-present) 

Advisory Editor - Journal of Educational Measurement (2008-2014) 

Editorial Board Member - The Educational Measurement and Evaluation Review (201 1 - 
present) 

Consulting Editor - The Assessment Handbook (201 1 - present) 

American Education Research Association Division D Outstanding Quantitative Dissertation 
Award (Member, 2009 - 201 1; Chair, 201 1 - 2012). 

Bradley Hanson Award for Contributions to Educational Measurement (Member, 2006-2009- 
Chair, 2007 - 2009) 



BIT G 



n§ 

^ Ivcrythtog Juwy 

Needed: Criminal investigation in Elizabeth 

Published: Monday, May 23, 2011, 5:00 AM Updated: Monday, May 23, 2011, 6:39 PM 

> ^Sil Star-Ledger Editorial Board 

> ^gjBy 




Star-Ledger | 

Rafael Fajardo, former president of the Blzabeth School Board 



how the board does its business. 



The foul odor In Elizabeth these days cannot 
be blamed on oil refineries along the 
Turnpike. It Is from the ethical rot created by 
the dty's Board of Education. 

Board members In Elizabeth routinely solicit 
political donations from teachers and other 
school employees. They are using the 
district's 4,000 employees as their personal 
slush funds, building a heavy-handed 
political machine that Is based on 
intimidation. 

That Is sleazy at a minimum. It becomes 
criminal if employees are coerced Into giving 
money by the threat of punishment or the 
promise of reward. And that Is exactly what 
employees of the district say Is happening, 
as staff writer Ted Sherman reported In The 
Sunday Star-Ledger. 

Several lawsuits making that charge have 
been quietly settled, with a convenient gag 
order attached. And several authoritative 
sources, Including a former superintendent 
and a former principal, say that Is precisely 



"If you don't buy tickets, you are not promoted to jobs you may want," said Frank Cuesta, the former 



principal, now a city councilman. "You are basically shut out of the system, no matter how competent you 

are." 

These are serious charges that merit a criminal investigation by U.S. Attorney Paul Flshman, or Attorney 
General Paula Dow, or both offices working in tandem. 

Their challenge will be to prove the coercion. A wink and nod are not enough. Investigators need to 
explicitly link the district's treatment of an employee with his or her response to the request for money. 

It will come as no surprise if they find that smoking gun. Because judging by what we know of this board, 
its members have lost their ethical bearings entirely. The signs of this are familiar to anyone who follows 
New Jersey politics. 

t 

Nepotism Is one symptom. Sherman found that at least 20 district employees are relatives of current or pas 
board members. 

The ringleader on this is Rafael Fajardo, a former board president who has six relatives on the payroll, 
including a sister who Is a truant officer for preschool students, a job the state deemed pointless because 
preschoolers are not required to attend. 

Soliciting money from firms that do business with the district is another dasslc symptom, and the Elizabeth 
board embraces that practice as well. 

Fajardo won't talk about any of this, and neither will most current board members. That, too, is a sign. 

Time to find out what these people are hiding. And for that, we need criminal Investigators to do their work. 
© 2011 NJ.com. All rights reserved. 



EXHIBIT H 



Senator Raymond J. Lesniak & 
Mayor J. Cliristian Bollwagfe 

Invite you to a cocktail reception in honor of 

Councilman Frank Cuesta 

For a successful year as 
President of the Hlizaheth City Council 



. Host Committee: C 
Luis Rodriguez, CKairman 
Mel Acosta Ralph Salermo 

* Oecir^e Castro Felice Tang'a 

iela S aluzae Tony leixeira 



1 

4 



I 



JWeJnestlay, Januarys 25, 2006 
| 5: ^0p m. 8: SOp.mi 

Tke Reel Parrot Cat* 

17 HroaJ St 

Elizal^rtK,-N) 07201 




' uggfeste 



A Donat 




RSVP to Brenoa at "(90^ 2«^90^(10 

by the Election Fund of Frank Cuesta. SV?Bajlcy Avenue. (3iz*eth, NJ 07208 



AniDl ± X 



Senator Raymond J. Lesniak & 
Mayor J. Christian Bollwage 



Invite you to a reception in honor of 

Councilman Frank J. Cuestk 



Angel* Salwar. Chairperson 

Mel Aetata VUo A.Maaza, BaL 

HtverAmbroiae Mareos Safenac 

George Castro Ralph Safcrrao 

Janlca Dc Avtla MlchacJ Santos 



Thursday, February 5. 2009 
5:30 PM to 8:30 PM 



Dolce Lounge 
17 Broad Street 
Elizabeth. New Jersey 
Fn* valet parking 
Open Bar. Food. Stualc A Dancing 



Suggested Donation: S2S0 
Patdjor by ^««^IW«^fh»ifcCu«jtea33««te»Ao«niM.Hta^.^ 07308 



EXHIBIT J 



SB 



8 2007 9: 48HM EBOE Upper flcadtma 



(908J 436-5861 



p . t 



FRANK J. CUESTA 
832 BAILEY AVENUE 
ELIZABETH, NJ 07208 
Fl ? orro 1953@verizon.nct 
(908) 352-9888 Horn* 

September 11, 2007 



Dear Students and Parents, 

Ever since June 28, 2007 when the Elizabeth Board of Education involuntarily 
transferred me from the Upper and Lower Academies of Elizabeth High School to 
Hamilton Middle School. I have not stopped dunking about how much yon motivated me 
to become a better administrator, a better educator and definitely a better human being. I 
have not stopped thinking about what we accomplished together in such a short time, and 
how we celebrated our successes with joy, appreciation and respect for each other. I have 
not stopped thinking how much I learned from your buoyancy, your optimism and 
creativity. I miss all of you so very much! 

By now, most of you know that I was transferred to another school against my will, 
despite the support from students, parents, teachers and the community at large. What 
you probably don't know is that the Board also transferred my wife, Karen, involuntarily 
from School 12 despite her excellent performance there for more than 13 years. It is very 
important to me that I discuss briefly the circumstances surrounding our transfers. 

Citizens of Elizabeth elect three Board members on April of each year. As a citizen, 
taxpayer and community activist I have a right under the first Amendment of the United 
States Constitution to vote for, campaign for and support any candidate that I choose. 
Essentially, I have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of association. This is a 
right that mdividuals enjoy in a democratic society such as ours and not in totalitarian 
regimes such as the ones in Cuba and China. This past April, 2007 1 chose to endorse 
three candidates for the Board of Education but they lost the election to current members 
of the Board. Soon after this election I was transferred ^voluntarily and suffered a 
reduction in salary. My wife, who defended me publicly at the same Board meeting on 
June 28, 2007, was also transferred recently. I think you get the picture! I can tell you, 
however, that I will continue to express my opinions at public forums and Board 
meetings such as the one scheduled for Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. I will 
continue to express my opinions and exercise my rights under the Constitution because 
this is "the land of the free and the home of the brave" and I will not cower to bullies 
whoever they may be. 

My dear students and parents, it saddens me deeply that I was not able to continue my 
tenure at the Academies. I had many goals and aspirations that were stifled by an 
arbitrary and capricious decision. However, I intend to continue fulfilling one of these 
goals: Elizabeth's Promise Scholarship Program. To those of you who are seniors this 




B 2007 9 : 48flM EBOE Upper Academy 



(908) 436-5861 



year, I will make sure you get an application for our scholarship program so that you 
could become a recipient just like former Academy students Kelly, Stephanie, Eillyn, 
Amanda and Bruce to mention a few. Last school year, we awarded more than $35,000 in 
scholarships at a ceremony that was held on June 2. This program will continue no matter 
where the Board assigns me. You deserve mis support and even from a distance you 
motivate me and my committee to continue this worthy scholarship program. 

Not a day goes by that I don't think of the Academy. I think about you with great 
affection and consideration as I experienced one of the most rewarding years of my 



* Sep 18 ^aaj^S^BflM ^EBQE Upper Academy _ (3081438-5861 p. 3 

respect and tmderetanding for each other. I miss the dress down days because I enjoyed 
rewarding you for your hard work and diligence. I miss the musical and dance programs; 

#1 miss the 'Impromptu talent shows at hmchtime" and of course, the few times that I 
challenged you to "Four Square'*. But most importantly, I miss our discussions to 
improve the school and our community. These were honest and profound discussions but 
they were also an expression of dreams and aspirations that we snared together. This no 
one can take away from us. 

I hope to be able to see you at some school event in the near future. Please invite me! 
You may contact me via e-mail (FJzorro 1 953@verizonaiet). We can continue the 
relationships we built because they were founded on trust and support for each other. I 
congratulate you on your past accomplishments and exhort you to continue working hard 
so that you can become the very best that you can be. 

Thank you and God Bless each and every one of you. 

Affectionately, 




Frank J. 

First House Director, Upper and Lower Academies